Early labor, which is also known as the first phase of stage 1 of labor, is the time from the very beginning of labor (when contractions begin to follow a pattern) up until 6cm of dilation, or "active labor." How do you know it's early labor? Typical signs of early labor include:
After 41 long weeks, you're finally having regular contractions and you have come to the conclusion that you are, in fact, in labor! Yippee! Now what? It's likely too early to head to the hospital or birth center. And it's likely that you have several hours of this ahead (especially if it's your fir
“Birth goes best if it is not intruded upon by strange people and strange events. It goes best when a woman feels safe enough and free enough to abandon herself to the process.”
– Penny Armstrong and Sheryl Feldman, A Midwife’s Story
It's the million dollar question for nearly every first-time mom nearing the end of her pregnancy. Knowing when to head to the hospital so that you don't arrive too early and not so late that you have your baby on the side of the road is a hard to nail down.
You're 41 weeks pregnant and after some cramping and possible sighting of your mucous plug earlier in the day, you start having fairly regular, noticeable contractions.