Trip to Labor and Delivery at 23 Weeks

Updated on December 10, 2009
N.B. asks from Minneapolis, MN
5 answers

I'm 23 weeks pregnant. I had to go to Labor and Delivery on Monday afternoon, because I was cramping and having contractions. Turns out I'm dilated a fingertip width. A few weeks ago everything was shut opening whatsoever. So I'm a little freaked out. I stayed home yesterday and rested, and am trying work today. If the cramping and contractions start again I have to go back home to bed. I have to follow up with my regular doctor next week Wednesday. When I'm laying down I don't have the cramping or as frequent contractions, so I was told that some kind of bed rest will probably be prescribed. So I'm just a little nervous about what's going to happen. I had preterm labor with my first, and was on bedrest for two months before she was born. Anyone have any suggestions or advice they can give me?

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answers from Milwaukee on

I want to second what Bridget said--I wouldn't wait until Wednesday (in fact, I'm surprised your OB and the L & D nurses didn't insist you see your doctor right away). Call now. It isn't worth the risk of delivering this early. I went into labor at 29 weeks with my twins and they were able to stop it with hospital bedrest and medications, but they were very concerned at 29 weeks--and that's six weeks further than you are right now. I'm not trying to scare you...but I feel very strongly that you should take action.

Best of luck,



answers from Duluth on

I am definitely no medical person, but I do know that i have friends who, with second babies, have been walking around dilated for MONTHS. The sister of a friend was 4 1/2 cm dilated for the last two months of her pregnancy! Anyway--the contractions are probably more worrying than the dilation, but I just wanted to reassure you that that there are many women who are dilated early with their babies.



answers from Minneapolis on


All of us moms think we are invincible and think we can do it all. Don't risk it. I have seen moms who pushed too hard and ended up with broken stitches and internal bleeding after a C-section or spent the last 3 months of their pregnancy on bedrest in the hospital with young children still at home. Don't push it. Get some help and don't be embarrassed to ask anyone and everyone who wants to help out.

Can you afford a housekeeper? Now is the time to call for one. Can't afford an expensive chain service? See if one of your neighbors, friends, or someone they know is looking for a little extra money to do housekeeping on the side. Can your husband work from home part time? Can you hire or ask a favor for someone to help watch your daughter? Can you switch to part time, working from home or both? If you are a member of a church, now is a good time to contact them and ask for help.

Legally under the Family Medical Leave Act, every employer has to give a pregnant employee and her spouse 12 weeks off and hold their job for them. They don't have to pay during that 12 weeks, however. It's nice to take all 12 weeks right after that baby is born, but that may not be an option. You may need to take 6 weeks off now and 6 weeks after the baby is born.

Keep that baby baking as long as you can. 17% of babies do survive when born at 23 weeks, but not without serious medical issues and long, expensive stays in the hosptial.
Babies born at 26 weeks have an 80% chance of survival, but still have lots of serious medical issues. The odds just get better from there. 27 weeks jumps to 90%, 28-31 weeks 90-95%, 32-33 weeks 95%, 34+ weeks is almost as likely as a full-term baby, but still requires a lengthy hosptial stay. Every day in the womb counts. It is probably time to talk to your employer so they can start arranging for someone to cover you so you can at least slow down until Christmas, take your vacation time, then take your leave time.

Best wishes,



answers from Minneapolis on

As the mom of two preemies, I would not wait until next Wednesday to see an OB. I would call and get an appointment with a doctor today. It is fine to be dilated at the end of a pregnancy, but not at 23 weeks. If you are still dilated and contracting, its possible that the doctor could do a rescue cerclage, put you on anti-contraction meds or do other things. I would not assume everything is fine until you've had a good long talk with an OB.

Bedrest is hard, but having a preemie (especially in these next few months) is vastly, vastly harder. I don't mean to be alarmist, but don't assume everything is fine. Push your doctor to see you, ask questions, and don't leave until you feel like you have a plan to keep that baby cooking. Its just too important.

Best wishes,



answers from Minneapolis on

I am so sorry that you are going through this - how scary. Make sure you don't have a UTI. I had one starting at 20 weeks and was experiencing contractions and eventually went into preterm labor because of a UTI that would not go away. Take it as much as possible, drink lots of water and go to the bathroom often. I know that it is easier said than done. Maybe you should take a trip to the store to get a whole bunch of things to work on should you get put on bedrest...I was completely taken off guard when I got put on bedrest and didn't have any books or magazines or movies or anything. It's never the same when someone else picks that stuff out for you :) Good Luck!

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