How to time Contractions

There are two numbers to tally when timing contractions:

Duration– the length of a single contraction for start to finish

Frequency– the time from the start of one contraction to the start of the next

BUT, there’s an App for that:

The most recommended was FullTerm a free app by the folks at Apple. Second was Contraction Master which has apps for iProducts and Androids, cost is $2.

 If you are old school, get out a sheet of paper;  

  • Have columns titled “time contraction starts” and “time contraction ends”
  • Next to them have a column titled “duration of contraction”
  • Have a signal worked out with mom so you know when the contractions start and end
  • Have a column titled “time between contractions”
  • But don’t forget-contractions are timed from the start of one to the start of the next. A common timing mistake is to calculate from the end of one to the start of the next. For example, if the first contraction starts at 8:40 and the next contraction starts at 8:50 they are 10 minutes apart.

Types of Contractions:

  • Regular contractions are when the duration and frequency are stable over a period of time. An example is contractions lasting 60 seconds and coming five minutes apart for an hour.
  • Irregular contractions don’t have a stable pattern. An example is a series of three contractions lasting between 30 and 45 seconds and coming 10, seven and then 15 minutes apart.
  • Progressing contractions are lasting longer and getting closer together. Over the course of labor, contractions get longer, stronger and closer together.
  • Nonprogressing contractions. Contractions that are not getting longer, stronger and closer together. This means that the contractions are not opening the cervix. It usually means that other work is being done, such as turning your baby to a different position, softening or thinning the cervix.

For more baby related applications, has a list of the Top 9 Pregnancy Apps they recommend.


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