“False” Positive…

Lotus Blossom Visualisation of Dilating Cervix

The language of pregnancy, labour & birth is so powerful, and yet it is often so negative, or even misleading.  

Braxton Hicks are sometimes made out to be something other than preparation for the birth of a baby, a “false” sign of labour, and some sources cite that they have nothing to do with “real” labour and do not in any way prepare the uterus or cervix for labour & birth…

Braxton Hicks are also sometimes called “practice” contractions.  Whatever you call them, they help to tone the uterus & get your birthing muscles tuned in ready for the main event…

Think of BH, or prodromal labour, as trailers for the forthcoming attraction…frustratingly short lived, they tease & tantalise so that you look forward to the moment when you get the full show on the road, these non-progressing contractions are in no way false; they help to prepare your body to birth your baby…

In the latest days of your pregnancy, this prodromal labour is every bit as real as you, the mother, experience it to be: if you are told that is it “false” labour, turn that on its head – this is very real, it may simply mean that your cervix is not yet dilating…

So, if you have had a VE (vaginal examination) and been told that there is nothing doing, and this is *false* labour, ask your midwife (or other caregiver) whether they simply mean that you have not begun to dilate.  Has your cervix moved forward?  Is it softening?  Has it started to efface?  Has your cervix opened at all?  Some caregivers will not really *judge* labour to have started until you are dilating over 2cm…and that is one of last things that happens to the cervix…

Knowing that the cervix moving into position, softening (ripening) and effacing (thinning) are signs of real progress can help you move into a much more positive frame of mind as you approach the birth of your baby…

Moving into position?  Through most of pregnancy, a woman’s cervix points somewhat to her back, it gradually moves forward and during VE can be assessed to be posterior (pointing back), midline or anterior (pointing toward the front of your body)…

Effacing?  Your cervix is usually about 3-4 centimeters long and if you feel it, not dissimilar in touch to the end of your nose!  As it effaces, it thins to paper-thin and shortens – ask your midwife or caregiver to explain how they measure effacement & to describe yours to you if you have a VE…

Dilation?  This is the bit that we get all hung up on…the dilation or opening of your cervix is measured in centimeters with that magic number 10 being the goal…Opening of the cervix can begin before *positive* signs of labour are felt, and you may be 1-3cm dilated before it is *confirmed* that you are in labour…

Not one contraction is wasted, whether it is *just* Braxton Hicks, or *just* prodromal labour…each one is a wave that carries you closer to the birth of your baby…each one will be playing its part to help bring about the changes to your cervix and to prepare your uterus & other birthing muscles…

Think of these early sensations of your uterus contracting as the gentle lapping of the waves on the shore…in their own time, according to a rhythm only Nature can set, these gentle waves will start to roll and roil and then to crash and crescendo…And time & waves work wonders when you simply breathe…your breath keeps you calm, it keeps you buoyant so that with even the most stormy seas & the biggest breakers, you can keep your head above the water, knowing that each wave carries your baby closer to being in your arms earthside…anchor to your breath, luxuriate in the ebb & flow and when the time is right, your body will know its work, until then, float along on the tide and let Nature’s rhythms lull you…

OMx 

 

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