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Early Labor – F i rst Stage

Mother’s Feelings And Reactions

• Excitement; eagerness to begin; anticipation of labor experience.

• Thoughts of fear and anxiety – there is no turning back! This is it. Do I remember everything I learned in class?

• Talkativeness; very social – wants conversation and interaction with partner.

• Fully aware of surroundings; interested in what is going on, eager to report symptoms. • Thinking contractions are not so bad.

Physical Changes In Mother

• Contractions range from 5 to 15 minutes apart, lasting 25 to 45 seconds.

• They are typically mild, somewhat irregular, but progressively stronger and closer together.

• Contractions may be experienced as an aching or low backache, menstrual-type cramps, pressure or tightening in the pubic area.

• The amniotic sac may rupture; also a pink mucous vaginal discharge could be evident, commonly known as “show.”

Comfort Measures Mother Can Utilize

• Conserving energy now is vital. This is typically the longest phase within the first stage of labor; the most you should do is rest and relax.

• You may want to stick to clear liquids. Items such as water, tea, lollipops, popsicles, etc. taste good in early labor.

• Do not use any breathing techniques or other tools learned in class until you need them; otherwise, starting these helpful techniques will only exhaust you. • Notify your support person.

Role Of Support Person

• With the anxiety felt by the mother, it is so important to begin words of encouragement early.

• Make sure she is not overdoing. Remind her of the importance of relaxation and rest; make her comfortable.

• Time her contractions and write them down to report to the healthcare provider.

• Provide diversions such as music, playing cards or watching a good movie.

• Be aware of how she is reacting to her contractions; check for relaxation and breathing.

• Listen actively, praise her efforts and provide privacy if desired. • Notify healthcare provider and check into planned birthing facility.

The Gift of Motherhood – your personal journey through prepared childbirth 46

7 to 8 hours – Early labor is from the onset of true labor to dilation of 3 centimeters.

Page 48 - Stormont-Vail GOM baby friendly ebook

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