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It’s really common for pregnant people to be fairly certain they are in labor only to have it stop.

​Perhaps you quietly contracted for several hours, being mindful of how many minutes apart they were. The tightenings began 7 or 8 minutes apart and after an hour or two you announced to your partner that the baby was on it’s way and put your family on high alert. The contractions progressed to 5 or 6 minutes apart. They seemed like they may be getting stronger, too!​

And then the contractions stopped.

They just ended.

Perhaps you fell asleep and woke up to find you no longer felt tightenings. Or you went into the hospital because you were told to come in when your contractions were 5 minutes apart. The contractions faded out on the way there and you weren’t even a centimetre dilated. Feeling slightly embarassed and completely exhausted, you trek home. Betrayed by your own body.

Wondering what contractions feel like? We have a blog about that.

Prodromal labor is when labor seems to start but does not progress in a “normal pattern”. Prodromal labor contractions do not usually increase in intensity and cervical changes are minimal. It is often referred to as false labor, which can leave the woman feeling foolish. Overall, prodromal labor can be draining and exhausting both physically and mentally.

First of all, it’s really important to remember that althought your cervical changes may be minimal and your contractions are not increasing in intensity at this time, your body is doing it’s work. Every contraction brings you closer to meeting your baby.


​Any time a client tells me she suspects that she is in early labor, I recommend hydration and rest. Avoid caffeine, even in small amounts, as it can have a diuretic effect and result in you being less than ideally hydrated. Try resting on your side with your top leg pulled up as high as possible and your other leg straight or only slightly bent. Support the top leg with pillows and use relaxation techniques to sink deeply into the bed or even fall asleep.
Sometimes, the best thing for prodromal labor is a good heart to heart. If you feel stuck and like your baby is never going to come, sit down with someone you trust and a pour your heart out. What are your fears? What are you nervous about? Who are you angry with? What are you looking forward to? Who do you wish was there with you? What is still on your “before baby comes to-do list”?

Try to stay busy without overdoing it. Enjoy dinner and a movie with your partner. One last date night before you become parents! Have a few friends over for appys and virgin cocktails, check out a local attraction. Do something fun to take your mind away from what’s happening inside your body!


If there is anything some babies are determined to teach their parents before they come into the world, it is patience. Trust me, you are going to need this newly learned skill every day for at least the next 18 years, but probably much longer! Watch and wait. This too shall pass.

One day, this experience will likely be a fond memory. A memory of humility, frustration, excitement and patience. At the end of this trying time, is the big prize! You’ve got this!

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