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In those final weeks of labor, nothing is more anticipated than those first few twinges of contractions. Understanding how to time the contractions is invaluable, especially when your doctor is telling you that the contractions need to be four or five minutes apart before coming to the hospital.
The easiest way to time the contractions is by using a stopwatch or digital watch. You will need to record two pieces of information.
1) How frequently the contractions are coming
2) How long the contractions are lasting
When you feel a contraction beginning, have someone write down the start time, while you walk or breath through the contraction. When the contraction tapers off, let your timer know and have them write down the time. When the next contraction starts, repeat the previous steps without stopping the watch. After about ten contractions, have your timer start doing the math. Calculate how long the contractions are lasting. The time between the contractions is calculated by determining the time from the start of one to the start of the next. Don't time every contraction, after timing a few, take a break. The times will not always be the same, but as labor progresses they should become more regular.