Before your partner’s due date, make sure to talk with your doctor about how to reach him or her if your spouse goes into labor. It’s also helpful to be familiar with the hospital or birthing center, where you should park, and where to check in ahead of time. Know that sometimes either of you can think your spouse is in labor, but really she is not (this is called ‘false labor’).
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, this happens to many women, so don’t feel embarrassed if you go to the hospital certain that your spouse is in labor, only to be sent home! It’s always better to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible once labor has begun. Here are the signs of true labor:
- Contractions at regular and increasingly shorter intervals, becoming stronger in intensity
- Lower back pain that doesn’t go away. She might also feel premenstrual and crampy
- Her water breaks (can be a large gush or a continuous trickle) and you have contractions
- A bloody (brownish or blood-tinged) mucous discharge. This is the mucous plug that blocks the cervix. Labor could be at any time, or days away
- Her cervix is dilating (opening up) and becoming thinner and softer (also called effacement). During a pelvic exam, your doctor will be able to tell if these things are happening
- Changes in your spouse’s body
- Changes in the Baby
- Sleeping in the 3rd Trimester
- Doctors Visits
- Inducing Labor
- Deciding to Breastfeed or Bottle-Feed
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