For most women, the early part of labor, before active labor, is best spent at home. During this time it is important to save your energy for later by resting, eating and drinking plenty of fluids. These are some suggestions that have helped other women:

  • Drink/eat at least 16 ounces of fluids with energy each hour (juice, popsicles, broth, Gatorade, soda without caffeine)
  • Snack on small amounts of light, easily digested foods
  • Alternate walking with the shower and resting
  • Some women may feel nauseous and even vomit during labor, this is normal. Wait a short while and continue to drink.
  • If your contractions allow, try to sleep. Sometimes a warm bath or using a heating pad will help relax you enough to fall asleep for a short while.
  • Remember that your coach should also rest, eat and drink, too!

Labor contractions feel like very painful (you can’t walk or talk during them) menstrual cramps in the low abdomen, pelvis, hips, low back and upper thighs. They build to a peak and then they ease and go away. To time how often your contractions are coming, start at the beginning of one contraction and time until the beginning of the next contraction. Duration of your contraction is the time each contraction lasts (the start to the end of one contraction).


Your contractions are painful and regular:

  • coming every 3 to 5 minutes, lasting 60 seconds for an hour for a first labor
  • coming every 5 to 7 minutes, lasting 60 seconds for an hour for all other labors

Other reasons to call your Doctor:

  • Big gush or steady trickle of watery like discharge from your vagina. ( your bag of waters may have broken )
  • Heavy, bright red bleeding like a period.
  • A small amount of red, pink or brown blood or “bloody show” is normal, especially after a vaginal exam.
  • Continuous, severe, sharp abdominal pain that doesn’t stop after 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Absent or decreased fetal movement.
  • If you can’t eat or drink, are exhausted, can’t cope with the pain or have questions or concerns call you medical professional right away.

Contact your doctor office if you have any concerns