The last days of pregnancy are often spent thinking about labor and wondering when it will begin. The wait is never easy, but becomes incredibly frustrating when you have contractions that start and stop.
This happened to me in two of my four pregnancies. I’d get contractions that were coming as close as five mintues apart. Over the next hour or two, the pains would come gradually further apart and then dissipate altogether. There were a few nights when I went to bed certain I’d wake up in strong labor, only to wake up pain free the next morning.
This is unbelieveably frustrating. Each time the contractions start, you get excited, thinking this is the main event. Each time the contractions stop, you are back to square one, frustrated and wondering how much longer this can possibly go on.
You may even go to the hospital once or twice, thinking this is it. When you are sent home again, you may feel embarrassed or stupid. I know I did when I was sent home with my first baby. With the last one, I made my husband turn around and drive back home. By the time we had reached the hospital parking lot, I suspected I’d be sent home and decided to save myself the embarrasment.
Don’t feel bad if you get sent home. This is really normal and there is no reason to be embarrased. The nurses have seen this a million times, and not only from first time mothers. As the due date approaches or even passes, these false contractions, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, can resemble the real thing.
In the meantime, eat and get some rest. If it is the real thing, you want to save your strength. Even if it isn’t real labor, rest is always a good thing when you are pregnant. Eat a healthy meal just in case you are going into labor. In most hospitals, your food choices are severely limited and you will need the energy for labor.
Take a nap or head off to bed early, if the contractions are coming at night. In the event you are going into labor, you will be happy you got that extra rest. Before you know it, you will be holding your baby in your arms.