Prodromal Labor: Are You Experiencing One?


What is prodromal labor?

Prodromal labor can be defined as the labor that begins and ends before the fully active labor begins. This may begin a few days, weeks or even month before the active labor begins. Although a misleading term, but prodromal labor is also called as false labor. The contractions may start at the same time every day and will also end the same way, at regular intervals. This labor is pretty common among pregnant women.

Oftentimes, people mistake prodromal labor for Braxton-Hicks contraction. However, prodromal labor is a lot different from Braxton Hicks contractions as they do not get longer or stronger together. These contractions are generally painless as the uterus is just preparing itself for the final day.

One can easily ease or calm down the Braxton-Hicks contractions by drinking water or just relaxing, which is not the case for prodromal labor contractions.

Prodromal Labor: Causes and Symptoms

prodromal labor

Prodromal labor contractions may occur oftentimes, say less than even 5 minutes and may end for longer periods. Whereas, in case of active labor, the contractions occur more frequently and do not start or stop for longer.

In case of real labor, the contractions get longer, stronger and closer together. The labor is unlikely to stop once it progresses well which means that once the dilation is over 4 centimetres, the labor will not stop.


So, does prodromal labor indicate that the active labor is near? Well, this is not the case! As stated above, Prodromal labor can happen anytime. May be a few days, weeks or even a month before your pregnancy. But, that does not mean that your active labor will begin just the next day or next week after its occurrence.

Causes of prodromal labor

There is no identified cause of prodromal labor. Although there are a number of theories behind its causes. We will discuss about a number of factors below:

Position of the baby: One is more likely to experience prodromal labor if the baby is in breech position. As per the theory, when the contractions occur, the uterus tries to move the baby along with the contractions. But stops, if it fails to work.

Feeling of anxiousness: These emotions can either be related to your pregnancy or even other things in your life. These are also responsible for causing prodromal labor.

History of previous pregnancies: This basically relates to the way your uterus responds to the changes after multiple pregnancies.

Physical factor: These can be caused by the uterine abnormality.


Symptoms of prodromal labor

You can look after the following symptoms to ensure that it is prodromal labor.

  • A vaginal exam: which may be helpful in showing minimal cervical dilation
  • Contractions:  increase in strength and then fizzle out.

          Do not increase in frequency or strength.

          Not accompanied by other labor signs, including bloody show or water breakage.

          Do not radiate from front to back but occur in the abdomen.

          Start and stop.

Ways to manage the condition

You must try to stay active at the time of your contractions, if you are nearing your due date. You can rely on a number of ways listed below:

  • Relax and ask for help when needed!
  • Get some herbal tea and take complete rest.
  • Take a warm bath. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to it such as lavender.
  • Ask your partner to give you a massage. Use a number of essential oils, if needed.
  • Try to move around and change your positions more often.
  • Shift your focus on to other things like cleaning, dusting, walking.
  • Meditation techniques
  • Drink raspberry leaf tea. This will help in toning the uterus for more effective contractions.
  • More importantly, it is extremely vital for you to stay hydrated all the time.
  • Also, try to relax and take rest during the periods where contractions have ceased.

Is it time to call your doctor?

Of course, it is important for your doctor or midwife to know what is going on with your body. You must let your doctor know about it so that he/she can analyse your current situation. Also, this will help your doctor to ensure that you are not heading into premature labor. But in any case, there is no need for you to worry about it. In case you have any sort of questions, you can ask the same to your doctor.

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!