During your first pregnancy, every symptom you experience can feel strange and unexpected. It is normal to have a lot of questions about what symptoms are natural signs of pregnancy and which ones indicate a potential problem. During your first pregnancy, you may wonder what it means to go into labor and what it means when your contractions are 10 minutes apart.
Labor is divided into three stages. During the first stage, your uterus starts to contract so that your cervix will slowly open up. In the second stage, your cervix is completely dilated and the birth of your child is about to follow. The last stage of labor is when the placenta actually starts to separate from your uterus. Unless you have an unusually amazing pain tolerance, you will know when labor has started. Once you experience contractions, time them so that you know how long they last. Over time, they will gradually get closer together. The next question is: at what point should you call or go to the doctor?
What Does It Mean When My Contractions Are 10 Minutes Apart?
Normally, the first stage of labor will be the longest. For some women, it may take up to 20 hours to get through this stage of labor. First, your cervix starts to dilate as contractions help it to open up. This stage of labor does not end until the cervix is completely dilated at 10 centimeters. Your contractions will become stronger as your cervix dilates from 0 to 3 centimeters. Around this time, you may feel mild contractions that are about 15 to 20 minutes apart. They will last for up to 90 seconds and will radiate from your back to your front.
Is It Better to Stay Home or Go to the Hospital?
As your contractions become stronger, you should start timing them for how long they last and how frequent they are. Unless you are told to do otherwise by your doctor, you should stay home until the contractions are 10 minutes apart. Once your have 7 or 10 minute contractions, you should call the hospital or your doctor to make sure that everything is progressing without a problem. They may ask about your current physical state, your pregnancy history and your baby’s movement. Depending on the answers to these questions, your healthcare provider may want you to come into the hospital or stay home for a little while longer.
When Should I Go to the Doctor?
While you may be told to stay home when your contractions are 10 minutes apart, you should go to your doctor for sure when your contractions are less than 5 minutes apart. If you feel uncomfortable or your contractions become stronger, you should go ahead and go to the doctor.
During the active stage of labor, your cervix will dilate up to 8 centimeters and the contractions will get stronger. They will occur at about three minutes apart and last for roughly 45 seconds. It is around this time when many pregnant women experience a backache and some bleeding. This time is called “bloody show.” If you are stressed or uncomfortable, make sure to have loved ones around you to give you emotional support.
You should go to the doctor when your water breaks. Once this happens, your contractions will only become stronger. Around this time, the transition phase begins. Your cervix will dilate up to 10 centimeters as your contractions reach about two minutes apart. The contractions can last for up to a minute. At this time, you may have heavy bleeding, increased pressure on your rectum and a severe backache.
What Is It Like?
Everyone has a different experience, so there is no single experience that women have during labor. When the contractions are 10 minutes apart, most women call the doctor to see if they should drive in. Most hospitals will recommend that you wait until the contractions are five minutes apart. If you can walk and change activities, doctors may say that it is a false labor. Either way, it is important to call in and make sure that everything is proceeding as it should.
Preparing for Labor
Congratulations! In just a short amount of time, you will have a bundle of joy in your arms! When you have 10 minute contractions, it is time to prepare for labor to begin. We will go through the different stages of labor to help you prepare.
This time period is when your contractions are spaced 5 to 20 minutes apart. During early labor, your cervix will dilate by up to three centimeters. Contractions will generally last for 30 to 45 seconds and are generally easier to handle than in the later stages of labor. If you feel stressed out, try to relax by taking a shower or listening to calming music. You should try to keep your bladder empty by going to the bathroom frequently. Unless your doctor tells you to do something else, do not eat. Instead, drink cranberry juice, apple juice, grape juice or water. Start timing your contractions now.
This is the stage of labor where contractions are less than five minutes apart. At this stage, your cervix will dilate to an impressive eight centimeters. Your contractions may last for up to 60 seconds, and they will start to feel more intense. If you are feeling stressed out, rest or ask your partner for a massage. Go to the bathroom frequently, and do not be afraid to go to the hospital if you are feeling uncomfortable.
Arriving at the Hospital
Once you have reached the active phase of labor, you should go to the hospital or birthing center. After you reach the hospital, you will get checked in and given a hospital gown. Meanwhile, the doctor will check your temperature, blood pressure and pulse. They will also want to monitor the baby’s heart rate and condition. A monitor may be placed on your abdomen for this reason and to monitor uterine contractions. In addition, they may check your cervix frequently to see how long it will be until you deliver.