From the 37th week of pregnancy, you may give birth at home – or at your own request in the hospital.
It is then no longer too early. Blood and mucus loss, amniotic fluid loss and contractions – regular contractions of your uterus that are painful – are the signs that labor has started or is about to start. Not in all cases when these signals are present is there immediate reason to call. Contractions may disappear again in the early stages. With a little blood and mucus loss, labor may also still be a week away.
When will you call us?
Before 37 weeks
If you have contractions before the 37th, lose blood, mucus or amniotic fluid.
After 37 weeks
With bright red bleeding that is not mucousy and is more than a menstruation pad full. A little bleeding brown or red is normal that is due to the cervix becoming softer.
- In case of amniotic fluid loss, try to collect some in a jar or glass and save it.
- If it is green or brown call us as soon as you notice.
- If the baby’s head has not yet descended. We will tell you this during consultations.
- If amniotic fluid is clear (white/colorless or somewhat reddish) at night, call in the morning. If the waters break during the day, please call us immediately.
- When you have contractions.
- If you are going into labor for the first time, call us when you have regular contractions for an hour that recur every three minutes and last for at least one minute.
- If you have given birth before, call us when you yourself feel that your contractions are getting stronger and more regular and you need someone.
- NOTE: If your water broke and you are not in labor, you should not take a bath! Showering is not a problem in that case.
To give birth well and smoothly, you need good contractions and to get them you need to feel safe and confident in the process. So in case of uncertainty, call us. Especially if you are going into labor for the first time, labor can take a long time. The contractions – after a period of uncertainty as to whether this is it now – will come more frequently and become more painful. When regularity sets in, every 4-5 minutes and if the contraction itself lasts about 60 seconds, dilation will probably begin.
This process of dilation – after increasing in frequency and increasing in pain of the contractions – will end in a period almost without pauses, after which the urge to push will begin. In this last period, you will definitely need us and thus call us. But also call us if things go differently than you expect, such as if there is no progress in contractions but you are getting tired. Above all, the intensity of a contraction says something about the duration of dilation; the more painful the faster it can go. When the contractions are not really painful yet and are not coming regularly, try to continue doing the things you wanted to do. So when you could still sleep at night, do so.
- Find a quiet environment.
- Make sure you breathe calmly (in through the nose, out through the mouth slowly) and breathe toward your belly.
- Make sure it is nice and warm and were warm socks and use a hot water bottle against you belly.
- Take a hot shower or bath – the latter only when the waters have not broken, otherwise consult with us.
- Fear of pain and fighting contractions work inhibiting on the contractions.
- Try to think of the pain as something functional: the contractions are necessary to open the cervix so your baby can come out!
- Have confidence in your own abilities!
‘Rondom’ is the partnership of the Spaarne Gasthuis and the midwife practices in Haarlem. The website rondomzwanger. nl includes a 360-degree tour of the delivery rooms and lots of other information regarding childbirth.