You feel a “cramp” and you wonder if this is the time to have your baby. What emotions start coursing through you?
Woman who feel they are in early labor are often either excited or start to experience fears. At this time, the reality of the impending birth actually sets in. They may feel the need to rush to the hospital or quickly pack their hospital bag (because TV tells us this is what should happen!) and they may need to be reminded to slow down and enjoy the beginnings of labor. Staying in this fearful state causes adrenalin to make an appearance and this can interfere with the flow of oxytocin. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, is the hormone responsible for causing the contractions to come steadily. Adrenaline interferes with the flow of oxytocin and can have a slowing effect or cause the contractions to become irregular. So even though it is exciting to be in early labor, it is important to keep focus on everyday things that are happening around you. You may have errands to run, children to care for, cooking to do, or tasks to complete. Keep doing those things in early labor. Don’t stop and focus on the contractions. In fact, if you can sneak in a nap, do that too. You will need all your energy later to birth your baby.
Other women may become fearful of the impending birth. They may be unsure of what is coming and have heard many “war stories” from other woman all too willing to share. As a partner or friend, you may need to be remind this woman to relax and surrender to their early labor in order to allow the oxytocin to do its work and to keep the effects of adrenalin at bay. Remind them to keep doing all the things they would normally do as we stated earlier.
All of these fears and uncertainty can be alleviated with a prenatal class facilitated by a caring individual who will share facts in such a way as to educate but not create fear. Please watch for our up and coming prenatal classes in the fall. We can be those teachers who will share all of the facts that you need, but in a way that you will feel empowered by the information and ready to surrender to your labor in order to meet your new baby.