Prodromal phase of childbirth: symptoms, period and duration

Fonte: shutterstock

Finally the big day has arrived. Your baby is about to be born. According to the classic subdivision, childbirth is made up of four "times":

  1. prodromico (the preparation period),
  2. dilatant,
  3. expulsive
  4. and afterbirth, that is, the expulsion of the placenta.

But what does the prodromal stage of childbirth? Let's see together.

In this article

  • Prodromal phase: symptoms
  • Prodromal phase: what to do
  • What to do if the waters break
Read also: Prodromes: what they are, what are the symptoms and their duration

Prodromal phase: symptoms

The prodromal period is the one that announces the onset of labor, and ends when the cervix is ​​dilated by at least 3 centimeters: at that point the woman enters the active phase of labor. The prodromal period of childbirth is precisely characterized by cycles of fairly regular and painful contractions, interspersed with even long pauses. In fact, during the prodromal period, the first true ones are felt contractions of labor: unlike the preparatory contractions of Braxton-Hicks, the contractions of childbirth are very painful, they are increasingly close and regular. Sometimes nausea occurs and more rarely vomiting.

During the prodromal phase, the breaking of the waters, a large amount of amniotic fluid that leaks like pee. When the waters break it is good to go to the hospital, because the uterine environment is no longer protected and is subject to the intrusion of potentially dangerous microorganisms.

Prodromal phase: what to do


At the beginning of the contraction, inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, hold your breath for a couple of seconds and then breathe through your mouth. Try to concentrate and maintain this breathing for the duration of the contraction and to relax the muscles of the face and body (especially the pelvic ones).


During the prodrome phase, try to alternate moments of rest with short walks, do some housework or a walk with the children or the dog: moving will help the progression of labor. Find your ideal position to help both relieve pain and relax, and if you can, always try swinging your pelvis and hips to see if it can help relieve the pain.

The movement will help your baby find the optimal position for delivery

You can stand up and lean on the bed by swinging your pelvis; sit upside down in a chair leaning against the seat; get on all fours (all fours) and swing to reduce back pain or to get some rest ‛you can try lying on your left side with a pillow between your legs.

Hot Bath / Shower

Heat helps to relax muscles, reduces tension and pain which is why a hot shower or bath can be extremely calming and relaxing during all stages of labor and can be done at regular intervals. If you have back pain, try taking a hot shower aiming the water jet at the base of the column or using a hot water bag or warm towels at the base of your back.


Massage can be very helpful in relieving pain, especially if done in the lower back, and can be done by your partner, friend, or family member. Remember to eat little and often. carbohydrates (pasta, bread, crackers, cereals, etc.) for a slow release of energy and small sweets for a more immediate energy release.


If the contractions stop, try to sleep, regain energy and don't focus too much on their frequency. The contractions will resume when your body is ready.

What to do if the waters break

When the water breaks, you can feel a more or less abundant discharge of hot fluid (amniotic fluid). amniotic fluid is colorless and odorless. In the event of an intense jet of water, the problem does not arise: the membranes are completely broken. If it's just a trickle of water dripping intermittently, wear a sanitary pad - if it's damp or wet an hour later, then your water has likely broken.

Check the color

Observing amniotic fluid carefully is very important: usually the fluid is clear or pink. If it is greenish, come urgently to the obstetric emergency room to monitor the baby's well-being. If the vagino-rectal swab was positive and you are in doubt that your membranes have ruptured, come directly to the hospital, without waiting, to start antibiotic therapy. After the 37th week in the great majority of cases the labor starts spontaneously, in the 24 hours following the breaking of the waters, if this does not happen, substances could be used to induce birth.

Article sources: Ausl la cittàgna, Multimedia

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