Prodromal Labor

Prodromal Labor: Definition, Causes, How To Cope-Up

Prodromal labor originated from a Greek word means “Precursor” and is considered as false labor. Prodromal labor is a kind of labor that starts and stops before actual active labor begins.

What Is Prodromal Labor?

You’re big? You’re tired? Feeling a lot of pain carrying yourself? Having difficulties while you are sleeping? AND a lot more.

But, you must be happy, as you are going to welcome your sweet little baby into this world, who have been staying in your tummy for so long!

With every pain, you feel, Is that a contraction? Well, let’s find out.

Prodromal Labor, also known as pre-labor, latent labor, also considered as false labor which makes pregnant women bewildered, restless and in a confused state but it is a misnomer.

It is a type of labor that happens before the full active labor but many women have described it as real contractions. The contractions caused by this labor may come and go in a short span.

It is a common occurrence mentioned by pregnant ladies in the last few weeks of their pregnancy. This pain comes at the same time, each day or at regular intervals and can be an irritating experience for some. 

We have seen that many new mommies or even the experienced moms, end up calling their doctor thinking that their actual labor begins but in most cases find out as false labor, as prodromal labor can start a few weeks or even months before the actual delivery.

But, the good news is that it is now quite common and there is no such issue, and you don’t need to take stress about it, as it usually passes in a few minutes.

(You may also like to see 31 Weeks Pregnant – Symptoms & Fetal Development)

Prodromal labor vs. Braxton-Hicks

Well, talking about Prodromal labor and  Braxton-Hicks contractions, these two are misjudged and considered to be the same But in reality, both of these are not the same.

As there is a slight difference between these two and this is very common among pregnant ladies.

Braxton-Hicks contractions also known as practice contractions. It has been said that the majority of new mommies and pregnant ladies have experienced this type of contractions, which means that the body is preparing for actual delivery.

These contractions may be very tight and you may feel uncomfortable, but these are not regular or intense. It has been said that you can ease these Braxton Hicks contractions by eating, drinking water or relaxing.

But the activities mentioned above- eating, hydrating or relaxing doesn’t help in Prodromal labor. Prodromal labor comes at regular intervals at the same time, each day and may vary in intensity

So, To Sum Up about Braxton-Hicks -

  • Braxton-Hicks contractions usually start in the fourth week of the pregnancy.
  • It doesn't have a regular pattern and doesn’t come in quick succession.
  • It feels like tightening in the uterus.
  • Sometimes, it may be painful.
  • And it can be coped up by eating, drinking water and resting.

(You may also like to see Geriatric Pregnancy)

Prodromal labor vs. Active labor

 Active labor

Prodromal labor makes pregnant women bewildered and restless and is a type of labor that happens before the full active labor and women have mentioned it as real contractions but these contractions may come and go.

But, the contractions caused by active labor will be stronger, longer and more painful as compared to prodromal labor

So, To sum up

  • Active labor contractions are more intense, longer and more painful.
  • The active labor seems like other types of labor, signs are like bleeding, leaking fluids.
  • Active labor contractions are more in power
  • Active labor Contractions lasts between 45 to 60 seconds, every 3-5 minutes

(You may also like to see How To Increase Milk Supply)

What Causes Prodromal Labor?

What causes prodromal labor?

There are many reasons that could potentially cause Prodromal labor but the doctors haven’t mentioned a specific cause. Let’s read some potential causes:

  • Baby’s position in the womb: You’ll be experiencing Prodromal labor when the baby is in a breech position. It’s the body’s way to try to move the baby into the correct position for labor. It may stop if it doesn’t work at the first try and will start again after resting.
  • Anxiety: If you are feeling restless or anxious and experiencing a lot of stress about your pregnancy and other things in life. You may feel Prodromal labor contractions
  • Abnormality is the pelvis or uterus: chances are high that you may feel prodromal labor contractions if you have uneven pelvis or uterus
  • Pregnancy history: It has seen that if you have experienced pregnancy 3 times, chances are much higher that you’ll experience prodromal labor because of the changes, that have occurred in the uterus.

(You may also like to see When Do Babies Start Sitting Up)

What Can You Do To Cope-Up With The Prodromal Labor?

Now, after reading above, you know that prodromal labor is not real labor. But that doesn't mean it leave you in a comfortable state.

It is important for you to take a rest and gain some energy for your active labor contractions.

Here are a few things that you can try to cope up with prodromal labor contractions-

  • Go and take a shower, but not bath in case you’re dilated.
  • Make sure to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Rest, rest and some more rest. Yes, you girl, you deserve it, Let your husband pamper you.
  • Distract yourself, maybe watch a movie or listen to some music or have a talk with your loved ones.
  • If you are experiencing the pain at night, try to get some sleep.
  • Eat some snacks to distract yourself.
  • Do some light activity, maybe prepare your bag for the hospital
  • Take a small walk, if you are up for it.
  • Breathe, relax and move around and find some relaxing positions for yourself
  • Check with your doctor or midwife.
  • Ask your partner to give you some massage or rub your belly
  • Do some yoga and use ball while doing exercise

When You Should Contact Your Doctor Or Midwife?

Prodromal Labor midwife

If you think you're experiencing the prodromal labor contractions, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor or midwife as it will be a wise decision to keep them informed about your situation.

There is nothing to worry about or stress about but letting them know about your situation will make you feel better.

It is best to get in touch with them as there are quite similar symptoms between Prodromal labor and active labor.

The Bottom Line

Prodromal Labor facts

It is important for you to know whether the contractions are Prodromal labor or active labor as this will guide you when you need to go and visit the doctor.

It is completely fine and ok, to give your doctor or midwife a call, and get your questions answered and know the real situation.

Consider Prodromal labor contractions as your practice labor and it comes weeks or months before the actual delivery. So focus, relax and take a deep breath.

And, Rest and keep yourself hydrated. Ask your partner to give you some massage and pamper you.


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  1. What is prodromal labor?

    Prodromal labor is false labor that occurs before the active labor pain. But it doesn't progress toward the delivery. The prodromal labor is active labor again the contraction and it is more than the Braxton Hicks contractions. Prodromal labor can help to encourage the baby into a suitable birthing position. It can prepare muscle, pelvis, and ligaments for active labor pain.

  2. How long does prodromal labor last?

    The prodromal labor can last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. In some cases, prodromal labor pain is come and go. The mother who is expecting their second, third or that later baby than they, may experience prodromal labor at the night and this pain fade on the next morning. It also depends on the person to person and the position of the baby.

  3. How to progress prodromal labor?

    There is no exact way to progress the prodromal labor pain. Because the prodromal contractions are cause own their own and go away. It also not progress the labor pain. It just occurs last month of the pregnancy, but it doesn't mean that prodromal can increase the active labor pain.

  4. How to speed up prodromal labor?

    You can speed up the prodromal labor by the chiropractic, acupuncture, the miles circuit, and eating some herbs. But before consuming any herbs consult with your midwife or doctor. Prodromal labor is very discouraging, but don't lose your hope.

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