Signs of labor are a very common topic of discussion amongst my obstetric population……Especially as we get closer and closer to the due date.
While I encourage all my patients to call ANYTIME, here are my Top 5 Reasons To Call Your OB:
1. You Think Your Water Broke!
STOP THE PRESS! PUMP THE BREAKS! You need to call your OB immediately!
Whether you are full term or preterm, this is a really big deal. I’m occasionally amazed at patients who casually arrive a day or two after the fact as if NOTHING has occurred. If your membranes have ruptured(sorry for the technical verbiage), you need to be evaluated so that the proper steps can be taken to ensure a good outcome.
In some instances this may mean moving towards delivery, in other circumstances, it may mean administration of antibiotics, etc. Regardless, an evaluation needs to happen expeditiously so that appropriate action can be taken.
2. I’m Having Regular Contractions!
Everyone’s definition of “regular” is different. I typically advise my patients as follows:
If you’re having contractions, or regular uterine tightening, which occurs seven minutes or less apart; more than an hour has transpired and they are still occurring as previously noted…..You need to call your OB immediately!
Unfortunately, labor isn’t something I can predict over the phone…..so as annoying as I know it can be to have to drive ALL the way to the hospital only to be told, “THIS ISN’T IT”, remember, I to have to come in and evaluate you (smile).
The consequences of not coming in for an eval are numerous to say the least….a few right off the top of my head are as follows: not getting appropriate antibiotic treatment if you’re group B strep positive, missing the opportunity to get an epidural…. if you desire one in the first place, and my personal favorite…..ending up with a drive thru delivery….you know what I’m talking about….JUST making it to the front of the hospital, delivering the baby in the car, only to be wheeled up to labor and delivery in a wheelchair for the doctor to deliver the placenta!
3. Bleeding! If you are truly bleeding; i.e., more than just spotting when you wipe, or blood tinged mucous…..You need to call your OB immediately!
4. My Baby Is Not Moving! You all know my line….”Is baby moving and grooving”?!?!
I typically encourage my patients to start doing fetal kick counts at around the 28th week of pregnancy. If baby isn’t meeting criteria, or if you aren’t feeling the baby move at all; please don’t wait until the office opens on Monday, or 2-3 days after the fact to mention this to your physician. You need to call your OB immediately!
5. You’re Just Not Sure……whether it be about what meds you can take for a cold or headache, you think you might be in labor, you may be leaking fluid……You need to call your OB immediately!
There are NEVER any dumb questions….as previously stated; you can’t always be sure whether or not “the main event” has arrived.
Losing that mucus plug, that nausea, or diarrhea might just be signs of early labor……these clearly aren’t as obvious as some of the ones mentioned above.
As GI Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle”!
Hoping this blog post adds value to your day!
Until next time,
Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.
Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.