LABOUR VS FALSE LABOUR
Doktuurah: Assalaam alaykum Ummu. How are you doing today?
Umm Fulaan: Waalykum salaam ma. I’ve been having tummy pain since last night.
Doktuurah: Aww. Sorry about that. Can you describe the pain?
Umm Fulaan: It feels like a tight band around my tummy. It comes and goes although, it’s not so painful. It lasts for a few seconds, and it comes every half an hour. Sometimes, I’m relieved for several hours before it comes again… Could this be labour pain doc?
Doktuurah: Hmmm… You see, labour pain is usually progressive and comes at regular intervals until delivery. The pain will be more and more intense each time it comes. What you’re having sounds more like FALSE LABOUR.
Umm Fulaan: Wow! You mean labour pain should be more painful and last longer?
Doktuurah: Yeah. Although, the perception of pain varies from woman to woman. Some women have high threshold for pain such that, even when the contractions are technically intense, they may not report it as painful as it is. But I’ll still advise you to come to the clinic for a proper check. Besides, false labour itself could be due to a number of things – an infection of the urinary or genital tract, etc.
Umm Fulaan: Eh ehn?! So, how can you measure the contractions “technically”? What if the false labour turns out to be true?
Doktuurah: Good question! If you feel that the contractions are increasing in intensity and frequency, you should go and see your midwife or doctor right away. They will examine your tummy manually or by using a device called cardiotocograph (CTG). This will not only show us the intensity of the contractions, it will also give us an idea of how well your baby is coping with the contractions. In addition, we will examine you from below and check whether your cervix is opening up in response to the contractions and the baby’s head is moving downward. If the latter is positive, then we can say that actual labour has begun.
Umm Fulaan: I guess I should come there today. It’s my first baby and I wouldn’t want to take any risk.
Doktuurah: It’s okay to come sooner than later, especially if you’re far away from the hospital. Moreso, if you see any blood or you break your waters, or you feel your baby is not moving like before, you should come immediately.
Umm Fulaan: OK doc. Thanks for your time.
Doktuurah: You’re welcome.