Week 37: Stages of labor

Did our first cardiotocography (CTG) scan today which records/graphs the fetal heartbeat (cardio-, measured in BPM) and uterine contractions (-toco-, measuring the mom’s abdominal wall tension in % pressure) during pregnancy via two transducers placed either externally or internally.

Based on today’s 30 min scan, I’m still in pre-labor –  multiple short (<30sec), mild and irregular contractions with baby’s heart fluctuating between 140-150 BPM.  Fetal activity remains frequent though the baby’s growth is slowing a little (pheew!). These contractions should grow stronger and more rhythmic with increased cervical effacement (shortening and thinning of the cervix from 0-100%) and dilation (opening of the cervix from 0-10cm) in the next few days – see below. 

Doc is away this weekend but should (hopefully? better?!) be back when I enter the first stage of labor which begins with regular uterine contractions and is generally split in three phases: Latent/Early, Active, and Transitional. We’ll check into the hospital when the contractions get to the active phase – regular 5-1-1 (5 mins apart lasting 1 min each over 1 hour) and my cervix widens to 3/4 cm.  This then widens to 8 cm (transitional phase) and finally 10 cm (second stage of labor) aka time to push and DELIVER!

Didn’t manage to snag a picture of today’s CTG – will try next week.  Meanwhile, here’s an example of a similar early stage scan (minus the output row where I pressed a button to indicate any uterine activity):

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