When I was pregnant with my first child, I was very fortunate to have a circle of friends to support me who had already travelled the path of parenthood. The best advice that another mom gave me, and that I still use today, is to always “trust your instincts.”
My friend’s story
My friend’s story begins at the 35 weeks of pregnancy mark when she began experiencing severe and unusual back pain:
“As you may know, sleep is never the same during pregnancy. I had already experienced a few nights with little sleep, but this night felt different. I was experiencing a lot of lower back pain, more so than the usual discomforts of pregnancy. Getting into a comfortable position was my mission, but no matter which way I moved, the pain would not go away.”
“In prenatal classes we had learned to recognize the signs and symptoms of preterm labour. I remembered that the most important thing to do if you have symptoms of preterm labour is to go the hospital. As the minutes painfully passed, I began doubting my worry as my only symptom was intense lower back pain. It got worse! After another wave of pain, I decided to wake up my husband and get to the hospital ASAP where they did some tests to see if I was in labour. Sure enough, I was! Trusting my instincts really paid off. In the nick of time the medical staff were able to take steps to prevent my baby from being born premature.”
Preterm Labour – what you should know:
When labour begins before the 37th week of pregnancy it is considered preterm. Half of all preterm labours begin for unknown reasons to women who otherwise have uncomplicated pregnancies.
Many preterm labours can be delayed or even stopped if medical attention is sought right away. Listen to your body, trust your instincts and learn how to decrease your risk.
Decreasing your risk
- Seek prenatal care with your health care provider as early as possible in the pregnancy (before 12 weeks) and attend all appointments
- Go to prenatal classes early on in your pregnancy
- If you smoke, try to quit or at least cut down
- Take time to lie down or put your feet up during the day
- Eat nutritious foods during pregnancy
- Listen to your body – notice when things feel “different” and talk to your doctor/midwife about it
- Talk to your doctor/midwife about how to deal with life stress
- Be aware of the signs and symptoms of preterm labour
- Go to the hospital if you have signs and symptoms related to preterm labour
Women who experience preterm labour, may have a premature birth. This can be a very scary and emotionally challenging time for the whole family. Friends and family can be a great support during the days and months ahead. Often a family will travel back and forth to the hospital on a daily basis to care for their new baby while still meeting the demands of their home and work life. With an ongoing circle of support these new families will experience a more successful beginning on their path to parenthood.
Did you experience a preterm labour, or have a story to share?
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For parenting information, or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.