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When should I call my OB doctor?

Knowing what is normal and what is not during your pregnancy is important. Below are some guidelines for you to follow, but remember, if you are in doubt, always call.

  1. You do not need to call if you have a “bloody show” or if you pass your mucus plug. As the cervix “ripens” and the canal flattens out (effacement), the honeycomb structure known as the “mucus plug” often comes out. This may happen all at once or slowly resembling a discharge. It has a tobacco-like odor. It may be yellowish, whitish, or even blood-tinged. The loss of the mucus plug, or bloody show, is not a true sign of labor.
  2. Blood running down your leg would be abnormal and should be reported. In summary, heavy vaginal bleeding, painful or painless (not spotting), should always be reported.
  3. CALL at anytime your membranes rupture (bag of water breaks). This may be a sudden gush, or you may experience a slow leak of fluid. Amniotic fluid may be colorless or even blood-tinged. If you are in doubt, ALWAYS CALL. Do not walk around or travel in this condition.
  4. Time your contractions from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next. The duration is how long the contraction lasts. (Usual contractions last 25 – 60 seconds.) You may feel a tightening in the abdomen or just pressure in your back. Some women just feel a sensation in their upper thighs. Regardless of how you feel, check the contraction by pushing in on your abdomen with your thumb. If it is hard, even “rock-like,” then it is probably a contraction. Contractions of true labor have three characteristics: They get longer, stronger, and closer together. False labor goes away with activity such as walking.
  5. Call the office phone: (217) 222-6550, ext. 3753. Give your name, what baby this is for you, your contraction pattern, due date, and any additional information that is pertinent to your care. Examples:
    • Breech
    • Scheduled for c-section
    • Have twins
    • Water broke
    • Where you live, etc.

If you are instructed to go to the hospital, have someone drive you there, carefully. This is not a good time to be involved in an automobile accident.