Prodromal period

The prodromal period is defined as the period of time that elapses between the appearance of the first involuntary, irregular and infrequent contractions, and actual labor (dilating period). This phase has a variable length that can last two or three days or only a few hours. It is characterized, as we said above, by the appearance of the first contractions at the level of the lower abdomen similar to menstrual pain and, usually, irregular in frequency, duration and intensity.
During this phase, the transformations undergone by the neck of the uterus, which moves in axis with the vagina and flattens becoming a single thing with the body of the uterus, could cause small blood losses.
In this phase, then, the mucous plug is expelled which, while waiting, closes the neck of the uterus protecting it from the outside. The detachment is signaled by the loss of a thick and whitish secretion mixed with blood.
Furthermore, it is during the prodromal period that the water rupture occurs, caused by the pressure exerted by the fetus against the amniotic sac which, in this way, is torn. The rupture can occur in one fell swoop causing a sudden and copious flow of water that the future mother will not struggle to recognize, or slowly, to small streams, which could be mistakenly mistaken for urine leaks. It can also happen that the waters do not break at all. In this case, the midwife in the delivery room will provide for the break.


First, you need to stay calm or not panic. In the days leading up to labor first and then childbirth, the future mother should try to relax as much as possible, sleeping a lot and eating healthily and lightly. It is not necessary to go to bed. But the tiring and tiring jobs should be absolutely avoided in order to preserve the strength and tranquility to face the hardships that await it. A hot shower (37 °) is a great way to relieve the pain of contractions (especially if the waters have already broken).
To avoid, however, too hot baths because they could have an effect of excessive relaxation, causing a slowdown in contractions. When the contractions begin to become more intense and regular (one every two / three hours), it is recommended to time them, marking the interval between the beginning of one and the next, also evaluating the duration of each. Those who assist the future mother, in these moments, should take care of all the practical aspects: check that there is everything in the suitcase for the hospital (it is recommended to prepare the bag at least a couple of weeks before the expected date of childbirth so as not to have to do everything in a hurry at the last moment) and that the hospital acceptance documents are ready (identity card, tax code, health card, blood group card, the ultrasounds performed – those made in the last month are sufficient -, any comments or indications from the gynecologist); telephone the closest relatives to warn them that the moment of childbirth is approaching.


The prodromal period, as we said above, does not have a fixed duration and can last for several hours (even a few days) before the actual labor begins. It is therefore not necessary to rush to the hospital when the first contractions appear. A strong signal is the breaking of the waters (if this occurs suddenly with an abundant and copious loss). Otherwise, it is better to wait for the contractions to settle and become more frequent (one every ten minutes). Or that, suddenly, you go from a contraction every two hours to a contraction every five minutes. Instead, it is advisable to run to the hospital when the water breaks or contractions occur long before the expected date of delivery. In these cases, a check is a must to understand what is going on.


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