On the 6th day of Christmas Calm Mama gave to me .... 6 hours of early labour 

 

Back on the 4th day of Christmas we talked about when labour becomes classes as active labour (4cm/3 contractions in 10minutes lasting a minute). The time you spend contracting and labouring leading up to being in active labour is called early labour. Early labour can look very different in different bodies but on average lasts approximately 6 hours. 

So what happens during early labour?

-Contractions start. These start very light and mild and spaced far apart, often 10+ minutes apart and can be happening so gently that the mother to be doesn’t notice them to begin with
-They can present as feeling a bit like mild period pains or back ache
-The cervix goes from being a close thick long neck of muscle and slowly thins and dilates as the contractions continue and increase in frequency and intensity
-Sometimes waters break during this stage but not always 
-Towards the end of early labour contractions will be becoming quite intense and will be difficult to talk through

It is important to remember that no matter where you plan to give birth, unless your labour is induced, you will begin your labour and spend the whole of early labour at home as you will not be admitted to your chosen birth place until you are in active labour meaning you also will not have access to pain relief if you are choosing to use any. We talk in great about coping mechanisms for early labour in our hypnobirthing classes and learn several techniques. Here are a few ideas:

-Water - a warm bath or shower 
-TENS machine 
-Hot water bottle
-Breathing techniques
-Relaxation techniques
-Massage techniques