First Trimester Prenatal Education

When is the Baby Due?

Sometimes it is hard to determine a due date because of irregular periods or because you do not remember the first day of your last menstrual period. The due date (EDC) is determined from the first day of your last menstrual period. The EDC is always plus or minus two weeks, since babies do not always come on the exact due date (EDC).

The Growth of the Baby

As the fertilized egg begins to grow, it divides itself and grows into a cluster or group of cells and attaches to the wall of your uterus (womb). It takes about 40 weeks or a full 9 calendar months for your baby to develop completely. The pregnancy is considered full term at the end of 40 weeks.

4 Weeks

  • Organs, such as the heart, brain, and lungs are beginning to form.
  • The placenta, or afterbirth is developing.
  • The umbilical cord, which is like a tube through which the embryo is fed from the placenta and carries wastes away from the baby, is also developing
  • The fetus (your baby) is well protected in a sac or liquid called amniotic fluid, and it will grow in this sac until it is born. The liquid protects the fetus from bumps And pressure.

8 Weeks

  • The embryo is called a fetus, meaning “young one.”
  • The fetus starts to look like a human being.
  • The arms and legs are starting to form.
  • The head is large in proportion to the rest of the fetus because the brain is developing rapidly.

12 Weeks

  • The fetus weighs about an ounce and is about 3 inches long.
  • The fetus shows physical signs of being a boy or a girl.
  • The nails on the fingers and toes are developing.
  • A little hair on the head is starting to grow.
  • The heartbeat can be heard with a special machine called a DOPPLER.


Being tired during pregnancy is normal. Make sure you get plenty of rest and take your vitamins and iron pills as prescribed. Resting will not always relieve all of your fatigue. Make sure you get exercise, because a lack of exercise can make you feel tired all the time. It is important that you discuss this fatigue with your health care provider if these measures do not help. There could be other reasons for the tiredness that can be helped.

Frequent Urination

This is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. The growing uterus puts pressure on your urinary bladder, causing the sensation of needing to urinate. After about the third month of pregnancy, the uterus rises out of the pelvis. This reduces the sensation of needing to urinate frequently. In the last month of pregnancy the urge to urinate frequently will return. At this time it is due to the baby pressing against your bladder as it is getting ready to be born.

There is not much you can do to prevent frequent urination. It is normal during pregnancy. It is important to drink plenty of water and not hold the urine for long periods of time when you have the urge to go.

Call us if you notice any burning with urination, fever, chilling or unusual back pain.

Pelvic floor Muscles

  • The pelvic floor muscles are the major muscles of support for the pelvic floor.
  • The muscles are attached to the symphysis pubis (pubic bone) and coccyx (tail bone).
  • The muscles surround and support the urethra (tube that leads from the bladder to the outside), vagina (birth canal), and the rectum.
  • The pelvic floor muscles sometimes contract when you have a climax during sexual intercourse.

Why are the pelvic floor muscles important?

  • These muscles stretch and sometimes tear during childbirth.
  • Like our tummy or abdominal muscles, the pelvic floor muscles need to be exercised to remain strong. Without exercise the loss of muscle tone may lead to urine loss when you do not expect it.
  • Loss of the muscle tone decreases sexual enjoyment by decreasing the strength of the contractions felt in the vaginal wall during a climax.

How to do pelvic muscle exercises (Kegel Exercises):

  • First, identify the muscles by running your finger along your vaginal wall while tightening it. This muscle goes about ¾ of the way up into the vagina.
  • Now...tighten the muscle, hold to a count of 10 then relax to the count of 10. Do 15 exercises each in the morning and afternoon. Do 20 exercises at night. Another method is to exercise for 10 minutes three times a day. Set your kitchen timer for 10 minutes. Try to work up to 25-30 exercises at one time 3-4 times a day.
  • It is important to do these pelvic floor exercises every day for the rest of your life.

Morning Sickness

About half of pregnant women will have some nausea and/or vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy. This is usually due to the hormone changes that take place early in pregnancy. This sickness should go away around the end of the third month.

Morning sickness may be relieved by trying some of these remedies:

  • Eat a dry piece of toast or saltine crackers about 30 minutes before getting out of bed in the morning. Move slowly when you get up. Wait 30 minutes more, then eat another type of complex carbohydrate such as bread, cereal, pasta or rice. Some women have less nausea and vomiting if they separate the liquid and the solid intake by about 2 hours.
  • Sipping on peppermint or ginger tea helps some women.
  • If you have nausea throughout the day, cook some pasta, and carry it in a zip-lock bag. You can nibble on it when the nausea sensation occurs.
  • Certain odors, such as lavender or peppermint, help decrease the nausea for some. You can use a cotton ball to put some lavender or peppermint oil on and carry it with you in a zip-lock bag. Open the bag and smell when the nausea sensation occurs.
  • Avoid greasy, rich foods or those that disagree with you.
  • Eating six small meals, rather than 3 large meals, will help with the sickness. Have a small amount of food in your stomach before going to bed at night.
  • If the nausea and vomiting is not helped with these measures, please call us.

If you are unable to keep down any liquids for more than 12 hours, call the Women’s Care Clinic.

Over the counter medications that may help with nausea:

  1. Emetrol - 1-2 tablespoons may help some women. Take every 15 minutes up to 5 times until the nausea and vomiting are relived. Never dilute Emetrol in Liquids or drink liquids of any kind right before or right after taking a dose.
  2. Vitamin B6 - 50 mg 3-4 times a day helps some women. Do not take more than four pills per day.
  3. Dramamine - 50-100 mg every 4-6 hours as needed.

Fainting During Pregnancy

Many women become dizzy, faint or lose consciousness for a moment during pregnancy. They may become pale. These episodes may follow indigestion, but may also be due to the action of hormones or to low blood pressure. They are more common during the first three months of pregnancy. It is important to avoid stressful situations.

Sudden changes in position, especially rising suddenly, may tend to produce dizziness or even fainting. If you recognize this, it is easier to avoid. Things you can do to help:

  • Rest on your side as much as possible
  • Change position gradually
  • Hold onto something when standing up
  • When you feel faint, lower your head below the level of your heart
  • Before getting out of bed, move your legs and ankles around several times

If the problem persists or if it becomes severe, check with Wesley Women’s Care or your health care provider.

Abdominal Discomfort During Pregnancy

Early Pregnancy

The uterus (womb) is held in place by structures called ligaments, which may be compared to rubber bands providing support for an object suspended between them. As the uterine weight increases, it causes pressure on some of these ligaments. In turn, you may feel pressure and/or cramping on the lower side(s) of your abdomen. This discomfort may be persistent, or you may notice that it appears after strenuous activities.

Usually rest and/or a heating pad will relive the discomfort for you. If necessary, you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol or Datril). If the discomfort persists, call Wesley Women’s Care.

First Trimester Danger Signs During Pregnancy

If you notice any of the following symptoms, call Wesley Women’s Care Clinic immediately at (316) 962-3100

  1. Persistent headaches
  2. Persistent vomiting
  3. Fainting and or black spots in front of your eyes
  4. Persistent constipation or diarrhea
  5. Vaginal bleeding
  6. Persistent severe abdominal pain
  7. Chills and/or fever greater than 100.4̊


Although there is no reliable evidence of harm to the fetus with sonogram use, sonograms are only to be done for medical purposes and with a physician’s order. If a sonogram is ordered, they are usually done around 20 weeks pregnant and never done for the purpose to find out the sex of the fetus. “Keepsake” sonograms have been made illegal in some states.

Second Trimester Prenatal Education

16 Weeks

  • The fetus is about 6 ½ inches long and weighs about 4 ounces.
  • The uterus is getting larger and you may need to wear maternity clothes.

20 Weeks

  • You should be feeling the baby move. The first time you feel this movement it may feel like a flutter and is called “quickening.”
  • Write down the date you first feel movement and tell your health care provider. This helps to confirm your due date.

24 Weeks

  • The fetus looks like a miniature baby except the skin is wrinkled and red. There is practically no fat under the skin yet.
  • The baby is about 12 inches long and weighs about 1 ½ pounds.
  • You should be feeling more movements and may be able to see your stomach move as the baby moves from one side to the other.
  • You should feel your baby move throughout the day and evening from now on. It is a good idea to observe the fetal movements. If you do not feel 12 movements by 3pm, call Wesley Women’s Care for further instructions about fetal movement counts.


As the pregnancy progresses, your posture may change because your uterus is growing and your pelvic bone joints relax, causing your back to ache. To help prevent back strain, low-heeled supporting shoes will be helpful. High heels can cause you to become off-balance and fall, as well as causing backache.

Good posture is important in preventing backache. Remember that if there is someone around who can lift things for you, have them do it. When picking up objects from the floor, squat- do not bend over at the waist. When rising, rise slowly using your legs, not your back muscles.

Nosebleeds / Bleeding Gums

Nose bleeds and bleeding gums can occur frequently for some women during pregnancy. It is a common occurrence without any apparent cause. If the bleeding is small and occurs only once or twice, it may be dismissed as unimportant. If it is profuse or persistent or tends to recur, it should be brought to the attention of your physician. The cause may be nothing more than an irritation.

Things you can do when you have a nosebleed:

  • Loosen the clothing around your neck and tilt your head forward
  • Pinch your nostrils closed for 10-15 minutes
  • Applying petroleum jelly to your nostrils will lubricate and protect the nasal mucosa
  • Avoid overheated, dry air, excessive exertion, and nasal sprays. During the winter months, nosebleeds may be aggravated by a lack of humidity in your house. A free standing humidifier will help put extra moisture in the air. If you do not own a humidifier, a vaporizer filled with water or boiling water on the stove will add humidity to the air
  • Call Wesley Women’s Care if your nosebleed cannot be stopped within 15 minutes

Antenatal Testing

This is special testing done to make sure everything is going well on the inside of the womb for your baby.


A sonogram will be done, if the growth of your baby does not follow the usual expected pattern, agree in size with your last menstrual period, or if there are other special concerns. A sonogram scans your abdomen using sound waves. It is not harmful to your baby. A sonogram can tell the position of your baby, whether you have twins (or more), approximately how far along you are in your pregnancy, show some birth defects, determine how your baby is growing, and sometimes tell the sex of the baby.

Since a sonogram is considered a medical procedure, we must have a medical indication before doing one.

Unfortunately, wanting to know the sex of the baby is not a medical reason to do a sonogram.

Non-Stress Test

A non-stress test may be done after seven months to look at the response of your baby to the inside of your uterus. A non-stress test may be done if you notice decreased movement of your baby, if you have diabetes, or other high-risk pregnancy condition. This test is not painful. A fetal heart rate monitor is placed on your abdomen with an elastic belt. A nurse takes your blood pressure and monitor the baby’s heart beat and movements. The contractions you may have are also monitored. The painless tightening and relaxing of your uterus are considered contractions (Braxton-Hicks Contractions). These findings determine whether your baby can still react as expected inside the uterus until it is time to be born, or if more testing is needed.

The physician interprets the results. If the test is non-reactive, you will need further testing. The NST (non-stress test) helps determine the safety for the baby inside the uterus.

Biophysical Profile

The biophysical profile also tells us how well your baby is doing inside your uterus. It is done using a sonogram, however, it does not tell us how big your baby is or how far along you are. The biophysical profile looks at how much your baby is moving and stretching, looks for breathing movements your baby is making and how much fluid is around your baby. When these signs are all present, the health care provider knows your baby is doing well inside your uterus. You may only need one test or you may need to be tested every week.


An amniocentesis is a special test that is done on the fluid surrounding your baby. Information about several conditions are provided including:

  • When done early in the pregnancy, genetic problems may be detected.
  • If you are Rh negative, it can give information about the disease and the condition of the baby.
  • It can also tell us if the baby’s lungs are mature, if your baby needs to be delivered early in case of special problems.

After the amniocentesis is completed, the baby’s heart beat and your blood pressure will be monitored. You will be sent home when they are stabilized. The results take four to five weeks to get back, when the amniocentesis is done for genetic testing. When the amniocentesis is done for Rh Disease or to determine if the lungs are mature, the results are ready in four to eight hours.

Since there is a risk of complication of the baby or pregnancy with the amniocentesis, it is only done when the benefit to the mother and baby outweigh the risks.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions often begin about the sixth month of pregnancy. They are painless, irregular contractions that may help to increase the uterine muscle tone for labor. You can think of them as uterine exercises getting ready for the birth. You may feel a sudden pressure or tightening in the uterus, lasting from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. These contractions may decrease when you move around or empty your bladder.

Things you can do:

  • Empty your bladder often
  • Lie on your side when resting
  • Walking may help relieve the contractions
  • Remember to take long slow deep breaths when having Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water

Second Trimester Danger Signs During Pregnancy

If you notice any of the following symptoms, call Wesley Women’s Care immediately at (316) 962-3100

  • Persistent headaches
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Persistent constipation or diarrhea
  • Sudden weight gain or swelling of your face
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Persistent severe abdominal pain
  • Chills and/or fever greater than 100.4
  • A change in your baby’s movements (less movement or no movement)
  • More than four contractions in one hour
  • Pain in leg or calf with redness or tenderness
  • A sudden gush of fluid from your vagina not controlled by Kegel exercises

What is preterm labor?

Preterm labor is labor which occurs more than three weeks before your due date. Uterine contractions cause the cervix (opening of the womb) to thin out and open earlier than normal. An early birth could cause your baby to have difficulty breathing, eating or keeping a normal body temperature.

Warning Signs Of Preterm Labor

  • Uterine contractions, which happen every 10 minutes or more often
  • Menstrual-like cramps in lower abdomen. They may come and go or be constant
  • Dull, low backache felt below the waist line. May come and go or be constant
  • Pelvic pressure which feels as though the baby is pushing down. Pressure comes and goes
  • Abdominal cramping with or without diarrhea
  • Vaginal discharge may increase in amount or become mucousy, watery or slightly bloody

If you have any of these signs, please call Wesley Women’s Care or the hospital as soon as possible.

What can I do to prevent preterm labor?

  • Increase your rest periods. Lie down on your left side for one hour twice a day
  • Decrease strenuous physical activity
  • You may be advised to limit your sexual activity. It is also important not to stimulate your nipples, as this may cause contractions
  • Eat healthy nutritious foods every day. Eat at the same times each day
  • Drink plenty of liquids each day. It is good to drink milk, juice, and water. Limit coffee, tea and soft drinks. DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
  • If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. If this is difficult for you, ask about stop smoking information. If you find that you cannot quit, cut back as much as possible.
  • See your health care provider on a regular schedule. Keep all of your appointments. If you cannot keep an appointment, call us and we will reschedule it.

Lamaze Natural Childbirth

Lamaze natural childbirth is a method utilizing certain breathing and muscle relaxation methods to use during labor and at the time of delivery. These techniques are taught in special childbirth education classes. You will also receive help from your support person or coach, the doctor and the nurses.

Some women do not require any medication using Lamaze, while others do need some pain relief. If you need pain medication or anesthesia, this is okay.

Ask the Women’s Care staff for information on signing up for the Childbirth Education Classes. These should be taken at around 7-8 months pregnant. Be sure to sign up early to make sure you get a place in the class, as the classes fill up rapidly.

Leboyer Method

Another method that some women choose to use is the LeBoyer method. Dr. LeBoyer was a French physician who felt that the birth process was traumatic for the baby. He provided dim lighting with a quiet room, gentle touching and a warm water bath for the newborn baby to ease the trauma of birth. If you feel that you might be interested in this method, ask your health care provider to explain it in more detail to you.

Third Trimester Prenatal Education

28 Weeks

  • The baby is covered with fuzz or down and a creamy substance called Vernix Caseosa, which protects the skin from amniotic fluid
  • The baby is about 15 inches long and now weighs about 2 ½ pounds
  • The baby grows very fast from now on and gains much weight

32 Weeks

  • The baby is about 16 ½ inches long and weighs about 4 pounds
  • Babies born now may look like an old person because the skin is still very wrinkled
  • The baby gets in position for birth, usually head down

36 Weeks

  • The baby is about 19 inches long and weighs about 6 pounds
  • There is some fat under the skin making it less wrinkled
  • The baby gains about ½ pound each week during this last month

40 Weeks

  • You are full term
  • The baby weighs about 7-7 ½ pounds and is about 20 inches long
  • The fuzz or downy hair has disappeared
  • The baby’s fingernails may go past the ends of the fingers

Your Own Birth Plan

Have you thought about how you would like your labor and delivery to be? There are different options for you during childbirth. The staff of the Labor and Delivery Department wants to make the childbirth experience the best it can be for you and your family. It is a good idea to think about what you would like now before you go into labor. Discuss what you want with your healthcare provider. Remember, unexpected happenings may change what you want. Our goal is a healthy mother and healthy baby.

Things to think about:


  • Who do you want to be with you during this time for support?
  • Do you want your family members present?
  • Do you want to walk or sit in a chair during labor?
  • Would you like to take a shower or a bath during labor?
  • What type of anesthesia do you want?
  • Would you like a perineal massage?


  • What position is preferable during delivery?
  • Do you want an episiotomy?
  • Who do you want to cut the umbilical cord?
  • Do you want your baby to have a LeBoyer bath?
  • Consider when and where you want pictures/video taken of the delivery
  • Do you want the baby placed on your stomach immediately after delivery?
  • Do you want the delivery staff to clean the baby off before you are introduced?

After Delivery

  • Do you want to breastfeed immediately?
  • Do you want to delay the ointment placed in baby’s eyes?
  • Do you want to have time to hold your baby immediately after delivery?
  • If you have a boy, do you want him circumcised?
  • Do you have special clothes for baby’s newborn pictures?


Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but is related to the changes in your body when you are pregnant. As the baby grows there is more pressure against your stomach, which causes the contents of the stomach to be pushed up. This causes the burning sensation in your throat. Do Not Take Baking Soda Or Sodium Bicarbonate To Relieve Your Heartburn. Instead, try some of the same hints listed for morning sickness. Other things you can do to help include the following:

  • Avoid greasy, fried, rich foods or other foods that do not agree with you
  • Eat several small meals each day and chew your food slowly and thoroughly
  • Do not lie down for 2 hours after eating
  • If heartburn is a problem at night, do not eat for 2 hours before going to bed
  • Sleeping elevated on several pillows may help, or raising the head of your bed on 6-inch blocks may provide relief
  • Wear loose fitting clothing around your waist
  • Smoking will make heartburn worse. It is best to stop smoking for you and your baby
  • Sipping water, milk, hot tea or eating yogurt may help
  • Avoid excessive weight gain
  • Over the counter medications: 1) Tums, Prilosec, Zantac

An exercise that may help is called the “flying exercise.” Sit cross-legged, raise your arms above your head and lower them quickly to your waist several times.

Foods To Avoid

  • Hot, spicy, fatty, gas-forming foods
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Gum Chewing

Tell your health care provider about your heartburn, there are some medications available for use during pregnancy.

Shortness Of Breath

Difficult breathing or shortness of breath is due to the baby taking up so much room in your abdomen. This will go away as soon as the baby is born. Moving slowly conserves your breath. Lying on your back may be difficult and is not recommended. Sleep on your side at night using pillows to help support your back and increase comfort.

Varicose Veins And Swollen Feet

Varicose veins are the enlargements of your veins. They usually occur in your lower legs, but may extend up into the pelvic (vagina) area, or exist as hemorrhoids. Your enlarged uterus presses on your abdominal veins and interferes with the return of blood from your legs. These varicose veins will get smaller or disappear during the first few weeks after delivery.

Things you can do:

  • To avoid problems, do not wear tight clothing, knee high stockings, or garters on your legs.
  • If possible, do not stand for long periods of time
  • If your job requires a lot of standing, walk around as frequently as you can
  • Sit down whenever possible and elevate your legs
  • Support hose are available for pregnant women at department stores or maternity shops. Support hose should not be constricting at knees, thighs or waist. They are most beneficial when put on in the following manner: Before getting up in the morning, put on the support hose before dropping your legs off of the edge of the bed. This will provide better support and prevent swelling more effectively when used in this manner.
  • Avoid crossing your legs
  • Change position gradually when getting up
  • Lie down and elevate your legs for 30 minutes twice a day

Abdominal Discomfort During Pregnancy

Later Pregnancy

Late in your pregnancy, you may notice a different type of abdominal discomfort. This can be constant or appear and disappear spontaneously. It is usually due to a combination of several things. The intestines become crowded by the increasing size of the uterus, and gas may become trapped, causing unexpected pain from the bowels. Sometimes a change in position and/or the passage of gas will help.

Pressure on your ribs is also common because the baby presses upward on your ribs and diaphragm. Sometimes a soft pillow will provide relief. You may find it helpful to elevate your arms above your head or put a pillow behind your back, as this will provide more room for you to breathe.

After the seventh month, the nerves in your lower pelvis may become compressed because of the position of the baby’s head. This can cause backaches and pain down one or both legs. You may find it helpful to elevate your legs when you are resting.

An exercise you can do to help relieve back discomfort is called the “pelvic rock.” Stand against a wall and put your hand behind the small of your back. Now roll your pelvis up towards your chest and push your buttocks toward the floor. This will cause your pelvis to rock. You can do this exercise while standing, walking or sitting.

None of these problems are serious, but if you have doubts or questions, please call Wesley Women’s Care at 316-962-3100.


It is common during pregnancy for hemorrhoids to develop or become worse. They can cause pain, swelling of the tissue around the rectal area, itching or rectal bleeding. They are a form of varicose veins and usually improve after the pregnancy ends.

Constipation makes hemorrhoids worse. It is important that you eat the proper kinds of food, drink eight-8oz glasses of water and get some mild exercise such as walking each day. Stool softeners or a high fiber diet may also help.

Things You Can Do To Help:

  • Avoid constipation
  • Avoid straining when having a bowel movement by elevating your feet on a low stool
  • Apply petroleum jelly around the anus before your bowel movements to help reduce the pain and bleeding
  • Kegel exercises may help improve circulation in the rectal area
  • Rest and sleep on your side
  • Sometimes, the hemorrhoids will protrude from the rectum, and you will need to gently push them back inside your rectum
  • Cleanse your rectal area with soap and water after each bowel movement
  • Hemorrhoid preparations that you can buy at the store may provide relief of discomfort. You may use Anusol or Preparation H. It is a good idea to use the cream in the morning, after each bowel movement, and at bedtime
  • If the hemorrhoids cause you pain or bleed, notify your healthcare provider. You may need a prescription for hemorrhoid cream or suppositories

Third Trimester Danger Signs During Pregnancy

If you notice any of the following symptoms, call Wesley Women’s Care immediately at 316-962-3100.

  • Persistent severe headaches
  • Persistent excessive vomiting
  • Persistent constipation or diarrhea
  • Generalized swelling of your body, including your hands, face, legs, or ankles
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Persistent severe abdominal pain
  • Chills and/or fever greater than 100.4
  • A change in your baby’s movements: less movement or no movement
  • Pain in leg or calf with redness or tenderness
  • A sudden gush of fluid from your vagina not controlled by Kegel exercises
  • If you are more than three weeks prior to your due date (EDC) and you have contractions every 10-15 minutes that are not relieved by fluids and walking.

Newborn Car Seat

By law all babies must ride in an approved infant safety seat. Your baby should ride in a rear-facing safety seat, placed in the back seat of the vehicle, never in front of an air bag.

FMLA Paperwork

FMLA paperwork may be left for the providers to fill out and you will be called when the paperwork is ready. Be sure to sign all lines required by the form prior to dropping it off.


This procedure removes the foreskin from the penis of a baby boy. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this procedure. It will be performed by your pediatrician if you desire this procedure.

Fetal Movement Count

Counting fetal movements is a way for a mother to evaluate how well her baby is doing. On average baby moves 15-30 times per hour. To count, empty your bladder, drink a glass of water, lie on your left side and put your hand on your stomach. Count your baby’s movements. You may stop after you feel 3 movements. If you do not feel 3 movements in 30 minutes try for a second 30 minutes. If you do not feel 3 movements, call Wesley Women’s Care 316-962-3100.

What Times To Bring To The Hospital

Several weeks before your due date, it is a good idea to pack a small bag with the items you will need at the hospital. You will want to bring the following:

  • Bathrobe
  • Nightgown
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Comb and Brush for your hair
  • Cosmetics, deodorant, etc.
  • Clothing for the baby to wear home and a blanket

It is important to plan on how you will get to the hospital. Usually, this is an exciting time and phone numbers are quickly forgotten. Keep the hospital and Women’s Care phone numbers written down and kept in a visible spot.

The Onset Of Labor

Labor beings with the onset of uterine contractions. Your whole abdomen will tighten for a few seconds and then get soft. If it is a “true” contraction of labor you will be unable to indent your abdomen with your fingertips during the contraction. These contractions will usually start about 15-30 minutes apart and last only 10-15 seconds. But as time goes by they will get closer together and last longer.

If this is your first pregnancy the time to come to the hospital is when the contractions are coming 3-5 minutes apart for at least one hour, each lasting about 35-45 seconds. The contractions could be so strong or intense that it is difficult for you to talk or move during one.

If you have had previous deliveries you should come to the hospital when the contractions are 5-8 minutes apart lasting 30-40 seconds, with a strong intensity that makes it difficult to talk or move during the contractions.

If your bag of water breaks (rupture of membranes), come straight to the hospital. If you start bleeding like a period, come to the hospital immediately. Bleeding can be a potentially serious situation. You will need to be examined by a physician right away.

Many women will choose to receive an epidural block. Rarely do new mothers complain of tenderness directly related to the epidural block, but low back discomfort will be experienced as a result of the strain on the muscles and ligaments that supported the weight of the pregnant uterus. The extra bending and lifting with the care of the new baby may also cause some discomfort in the lower back.

You do not need to fear paralysis or headaches afterward, since the spinal cord is not penetrated. Epidural block is one of the safest and most effective types of anesthesia available.

Another choice is the local anesthetic. When this is your choice, you are given a medicine, which anesthetizes the nerves to your perineum.

Discuss these options with your health care provider to decide the best choice for you.