Many expecting couples worry about their ability to recognise the symptoms of labour pain and leave for the hospital in time.
Ajay Verma, a first – time father to-be had many questions for his doctor and couldn’t wait for the Labour and Delivery Antenatal Class to get his answers.
Learn when to go to the hospital for labour with this 90 second video, or read ahead.
- When Labour Pains start
“How will my wife know when labour pains start?” asked Ajay.
“Initially the labour pains feel like menstrual cramps, coming at intervals of maybe 15-20 minutes associated with hardening of the tummy.”
“Gradually the pain builds up in intensity, duration and it becomes more frequent “ explained Dr. Panchampreet Kaur, Consultant Obstetrician – Gynecologist at Sitaram Bhartia.
These contractions will gradually grow to last for about 20- 25 seconds happening at intervals of about 10-15 minutes. This usually does not happen in false labour pains where they fade away after a period of 1-2 hours.
“But how will we know when to go to the hospital for labour and delivery?” Ajay asked anxiously.
“Because you stay far (>20 kms) away, you should leave for the hospital when contractions are 10 minutes apart and lasting for at least 20-25 seconds “ guided Dr. Pancham.
If you stay near, leave when contractions are 5 minutes apart.
“In active labour, contractions are 3 to 4 minutes apart. It usually takes 4 to 6 hours with such contractions to be able to deliver normally. So don’t worry if there is a lot of traffic.”
2. In case of water discharge
“What about water discharge? What should we do in that situation?” asked Ajay, who wanted to be as prepared as possible.
If your wife’s water bag breaks, she may feel a gush of liquid trickling down to her ankle or her knee. Thereafter the liquid continues to trickle and she will have to use a pad.
“If she sees discharge that is bloody green in colour, leave for the hospital immediately” cautioned Dr. Pancham.
“If the discharge is colourless and there is no associated pain, you can wait 1-2 hours before leaving.”
- In case of unbearable labour pain
“Are there any other symptoms of labour pain or situations I should know?” asked a now calmer Ajay.
“If at any point your wife cannot manage the labour pain at home, leave for the hospital“ said Dr. Pancham.
“When you arrive at the hospital, your wife will be assessed and the baby’s heart beat will be monitored. If there is still time for active labour to begin, you may have to go back home.”
Ajay went back much more confident and informed on how to face labour and delivery with his wife.
This article has been written with inputs from Dr. Panchampreet Kaur, who has over 12 years of experience as a Gynecologist.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Panchampreet Kaur
MBBS, Govt. Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, Punjab (2005), DGO, Army Hospital Research & Referral, Delhi (2010), DNB, National Board of Examinations (NBE) (2012), MRCOG (Part One), Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London (2016), MNAMS: Member of National Academy of Medical Sciences (2018)
Experience: 12+ years
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