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Stages of Labour: The Latent Phase – What, When, Where, How?

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Latent or early labour has the potential to be a stressful time, if you do not know what is going on. Fear not, we are going to answer all your burning questions about this stage of your labour.

What?

Latent labour is the beginning part of the FIRST stage of labour.

Medically, the latent phase is defined as the part where your cervix goes from being closed, to being 4cm dilated, from being thick to thinning out, from being very far back, to moving to the front.

You may also be experiencing irregular surges, which are infrequent, maybe noticeable and slightly unpredictable!

The surges will begin to become more frequent as you move into ‘active’ labour (we will talk about this part another day).

You may also experience some other symptoms, such as: loose bowels, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, waters releasing, mucus plug (show).

Please contact your maternity triage if you have any concerns or think you may be in labour.

When?

The latent phase of labour can begin hours, days or even weeks prior to you giving birth.

It is different for every woman. Some women have very gradual latent phases, others are quicker.

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how yours will be!

Where?

The best place to be during the latent phase is in your own comfortable surroundings (unless advised otherwise by your medical team). This is because it's possible that it will go on for a while and you will likely feel most relaxed in your own space. This will allow you to rest, have a bath, get on with your day to day tasks and chill as much as possible. As soon as you go into a hospital environment its possible that the fear can set in, which can interrupt your natural flow of hormones, effecting labour. This is where the tools and techniques of Hypnobirthing can really help. Supporting you with some practical suggestions to remain calm and relaxed. and in that gorgeous birthy zone.

You may also be sent home from the hospital if you have a vaginal examination and are not classed as being in ‘active labour’. Its important to remember that vaginal examinations are optional, we discuss the pro's and con's during the Hypnobirthing Classes.

How?

The latent phase can be tiring, especially if you are unaware of effective ways to work with it.

This means that if it begins during the night, it would be in your best interests to continue resting, if you feel that is possible!

If it begins during the day, continuing with your daily activities can be a good idea, as a bit of a distraction and this can allow you to distinguish at what point things become more intense, that you can no longer continue pottering around.

You should also do as many things as you can to keep your happy hormone, oxytocin, at a high level.

This can include:

The more relaxed and rested you are, the more efficiently your body will work.

If you have any questions about the latent phase, then get in touch and if you want to learn more about hypnobirthing, visit the website to find your local instructor! 😊

Photo Credit: https://www.erikatownendbirth.co.uk/

25 June, 2019