After months of anticipation and preparation, the day is finally approaching – you’re going to deliver your baby. Labor marks the start of the delivery process, and your body will let you know that it's preparing for the big event.

Every pregnancy is different; some women may have only hours of labor, while for others it will last several days. Before it actually begins, you may notice some early signs of labor. Women who have had a vaginal birth in the past tend to have shorter labors than first-time moms. Labor happens in several stages. In general, here’s what you can expect.

  • Early labor: During this first stage, you begin having contractions. These cause your cervix to dilate in preparation for delivery. Contractions may begin hours or days before you are actually ready to deliver, are irregular, and may even stop for a while. Most women stay at home during this stage.
  • Active labor: Your contractions become stronger and last longer, and there is less time between them. Your cervix begins to dilate more quickly. This is the time to go to the childbirth center.
  • Transition: The last part of active labor is often referred to as transition. Your baby is moving down the birth canal, and your “water breaks” as your amniotic sac ruptures in preparation for delivery. It won’t be long now.

Labor can be uncomfortable, but there are a number of things you can do to help manage discomfort naturally. Include the ones you like in your birth plan so that Mercy can make sure you have what you need when you get to the birthing center.

Mercy’s experts are specially trained in caring for emergencies during labor, and we’ll provide the best possible care to keep you and your baby safe.

When to Call Your Doctor

Especially if this is your first child, you may be anxious about your labor signs. That’s normal, and it helps to know that most women do just fine during labor. However, if you do have any unusual symptoms such as vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or leaking fluid, especially during early labor, call your doctor right away or go to the hospital. If bleeding or pain is severe, call 911.

Inducing Labor

If your due date has come and gone and you have still not begun labor, your doctor may recommend inducing labor. Generally, labor is induced when it is not safe for you and your baby to wait for a natural delivery. It’s a good idea to discuss the possibility of inducing labor with your doctor or midwife before your due date so that you understand what will happen if it becomes necessary.

Mercy is Here For You

When labor begins, your baby will be here soon, and that's exciting. But it can also be a time of stress and indecision. If you have any questions as you begin labor, give us a call. We’ll do all we can to keep you comfortable while you wait for your little one to arrive.

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