According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, many women, especially with their first babies, think they are in labor when they’re not. This is called false labor. So don’t feel embarrassed if you go with your spouse to the hospital thinking she is in labor, only to be sent home!
If your spouse thinks labor has begun, you should call the doctor or midwife. They can decide if it’s time to go to the hospital or if you should be seen at the office first. Learn the signs of labor so you will know when the time has come. Call your doctor if your spouse experiences any of the following:
- Contractions that come at regular and increasingly shorter intervals. Contractions should also become stronger over time.
- She has 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).
- She has a bloody (brownish or red-tinged) mucous discharge. This is probably the mucous plug that blocks the cervix. Losing her mucous plug usually means her cervix is dilating (opening up) and becoming thinner and softer (effacing). Labor could start right away or may still be days away.