Please call the office anytime you experience any of the following conditions:
- Your contractions are 4 to 5 minutes apart
- Your membranes rupture (bag of water breaks)
- You experience bright red bleeding
- Your experience decreased fetal movement
Time your contractions from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next. They may feel like Braxton-Hicks contractions, when your abdomen becomes very firm, but there will usually be some discomfort with them. Most women feel them as strong menstrual cramps, others have backache or pressure, some feel it in the upper thighs. True labor contractions have three characteristics: they get longer, stronger, and closer together over time.
Your membranes may rupture at any time. You do not have to be having contractions. There may be a sudden gush of fluid, or you may experience a slow leak. Amniotic fluid is usually clear. Always call if you suspect that your water has broken.
You do not need to call if you have a “bloody show” or if you pass a “mucus plug.” As the cervix “ripens” it becomes soft and it thins out (effacement). This may cause you to have a “mucousy” discharge. It may be yellowish, whitish, or blood-tinged, and it does not mean that you are in labor or that you must call the office.
Anytime you are not sure about when your baby last moved, eat and drink something, then lie down on your left side and count the number of kicks in an hour. There should be at least 6 to 10; if not, call the office immediately.
When you call the office, give your name, what number baby this is for you, your contraction pattern, and your due date. Other things to include, especially if this is after office hours, are:
- broken bag of water and color of fluid
- breech presentation
- scheduled for C-section, or previous C-section
- previous rapid labor
- travel time to hospital