It's so frustrating (and terrifying!) when you're having preterm contractions an you're doing everything you can think of but they just won't stop. Maybe you're drinking so much water you feel you could float away. You're also emptying your bladder every 2 second to make sure that isn't the reason you're contracting. Maybe you're staying off your feet - on self-imposed activity restrictions. Maybe you're even lying on your left side because you've heard it works. You're not ready to meet your baby yet and you need them to go away but nothing is working. Before you panic (or panic more...??), there might be a couple of reasons why this is happening and I'm going to help you see what might be going on and how you can fix it.
When preterm contractions won't go away
This is so common. I see this all the time. Women who have gone through the ringer to get pregnant or stay pregnant and now are faced with contractions WAY too early and just cannot seem to catch a break. They're terrified of delivering preterm and don't want to meet their babies so soon but they can't figure out what else to do. They may be in and out of the hospital...or even on hospital bed rest for some time. They're on medications. They're staying hydrated and emptying their bladder often. But nothing is helping. When preterm contractions happen, imaginations run wild as women start to make up stories about why this is happening. For example...I'm broken. I'm a bad mom. I'm a failure. Trust me, most of these stories are not real at all. You are none of those things. So let's take our attention to reality and the truth before you succumb to the idea that your baby will be born too soon. 1. How much stress is your mind and body under? Remember, stress can come from all kinds of sources, like physical pain, not enough sleep, dehydration and of course anxiety. Stress is one of the biggest risk factors of preterm contractions (in fact more than HALF of women who deliver preterm have stress as an attributable risk factor) and one of the easiest to manage with the right support. So do a reality check on your stress right now. Is some time of stress something you deal with daily?
If no, then great! If yes...it's time to get really honest with yourself about where the stress is coming from and start making lifestyle changes immediately. I know it can be really hard to take an objective look at your stress levels because you don't WANT to be stressed, especially if it's impacting your pregnancy. But it's a critical and really effective step in helping yourself stay pregnant.
2. Do you have a fever or an achy belly or generally feeling off? Sometimes, preterm contractions can be a sign that something serious is going on and you need more attention. In fact, there are times when preterm contractions cannot be and SHOULD not be stopped for your safety and the safety of your baby (even if it's really early in the pregnacy.) Having an infection is one of those times. Now don't get obsessive about this!
But if you're feeling achiness in your belly if you touch it, if you have a strange smelling odor when you go the bathroom or in your discharge or if you have a fever on top of having contractions, get yourself to a doctor STAT. Certain infections (like a uterine infection or an inflection of the blood) can be dangerous for you and your baby and it is one of the times that your doctor will not stop contractions. Contractions with an infection is your body's way of telling you it's safest for you if the baby is born now. Want to know more about what the heck is going on in your body so you can stop your contractions? If you're not sure where to start, the trick is to start paying attention to what your body is telling you. Notice patterns for your physical and emotional symptoms. It's a powerful way to lower your anxiety AND also stop your preterm contractions that are stemming from stress. If you're ready to learn how to do that so you can stop these contractions and stay pregnant as long as possible, we should talk. This is exactly what I help my clients with and they have had tremendous success in staying pregnant because they were able to control their own contractions. It really works! Learn more about how you can do this too in a lot less time than you'd think at parijatdeshpande.com/apply.
Contractions are always a symptom (not the problem) trying to get your attention about the real issue at hand.