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During Labor

Is this labor?

Possible Signs of Labor

  • Backache with low, nagging pain that may come and go.
  • Lower abdomen cramps.
  • Soft bowel movements.
  • Contractions with irregular pattern or same length, strength and frequency, little or no cervical change occurs.

Positive Signs of Labor

  • Slippery blood-tinged mucus from vagina that may occur days before real labor begins (bloody show).
  • Contractions:
    • Become longer, stronger and closer together.
    • Are painful or very strong.
    • Prevent you from walking or talking.
    • Are felt deep in pelvis or lower back.
    • Dilation of cervix progresses.
    • Gush of amniotic fluid.

Checking for Contractions

Place fingertips gently but firmly at top of uterus and feel entire uterus for tightening or hardness. From beginning of one contraction to beginning of next is ‘how often’ the contractions are coming. From beginning of one to end of same contraction is ‘how long’ they are lasting.

When to Call

If this is your first baby, you’ll want to let your health care provider know when you are having contractions every five minutes for about two hours. If you’ve already had a baby, call your health care provider after one hour of regular contractions. If you think your water has broken, call your health care provider immediately, regardless of contractions.

OB Hospitalists

You want only the best care for you and your baby during birth, and so does DeKalb Medical. With this in mind, DeKalb Medical Women’s Center now offers an Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) Hospitalist program to serve alongside our community OB/GYNs. DeKalb Medical’s OB/GYN Hospitalists focus exclusively on providing care for women in labor and delivery. They are board certified, highly skilled in many birthing techniques, and are required to maintain professional standards and clinical performance.

DeKalb Medical Hospitalists work seamlessly with our community’s OB/GYNs, family physicians, and certified nurse midwives to enhance the continuity of care for pregnant women, new mothers and their infants. This program underscores our commitment to providing the highest level of care in Women’s Services. Hospitalists contribute to our position of being “With You” as we support your wishes through carefully evaluated birth plans, and many natural birthing options.

If your DeKalb physician is unavailable or delayed, our professional hospitalists will take care of you and answer any questions you have – keeping in contact with your obstetrician to know the particulars of your birth. Anesthesiology is also included — available around the clock — ensuring women in labor won’t have to wait for pain relief, if needed. Additionally, our hospitalists can assume care if the patient does not have their own obstetrician, ensuring you are never alone in this process.

While these hospitalists are an important addition to the staff of DeKalb Medical, they are not a replacement for your personal OB/GYN. Rather, they will act as a safety net for private practice obstetricians, as well as necessary backup at irregular hours. DeKalb’s new Hospitalist program means that no matter what happens along your birthing journey, an experienced DeKalb Medical OB/GYN will be With You All the Way.

Warning Signs to Report

Preterm Labor

  • Less than 37 weeks pregnant with contractions, which may not be painful, occurring every 15 minutes.
  • Menstrual-like cramping in lower abdomen.
  • Dull lower backache that is not eased with position change.
  • Pelvic heaviness that may come and go.
  • Intestinal cramping with or without diarrhea.
  • Sudden change or increase in vaginal discharge.
  • General feeling something is not right.

Labor Check In

At DeKalb Medical, we support family-centered maternity care, and we want to make your baby’s arrival special for you and your family. After you check in at the nurse station, you’ll meet with a specially trained labor and delivery registered nurse who will gather information about your general health and assess your labor. Be sure to share your personal preferences for labor and the comfort measures you would like to use. Our Labor-Delivery-Recovery suites, known as LDRs, provide a relaxed, spa-like environment. Yet, they also are equipped with the most advanced technology and monitoring equipment for you and your baby. And, every room has a private bath with a shower and/or tub. At DeKalb Medical, we welcome complementary therapies such as aromatherapy or acupressure and extra support persons such as a birthing coach or doula.


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