English has quite a lot of contractions (short forms of a word or group of words made by leaving out a sound or letter), such as can’t, we’ll, you’d, they’re, and you’ve. While there’s no need to time yourself like Olympian Usain Bolt in a 100-meter dash, you or your partner do want to start noting how long the contractions last and the length of the time between them (measured from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next).

My last labour was an hour and for the first half of that it my contractions felt like really bad period pain, which got much worse, it felt like someone had a huge belt around my waist and tightened it as tight as I guess you’d get before exploding!contractions

This is called transition, because it marks the end of the first stage and the beginning of the second stage of labour During the second stage your baby will be born, usually through a combination of contractions and your pushing, which moves your baby down your vagina and out into the world.

In almost 17 years of practice, I have seen several women almost sent home because they are silent and having contractions every 8 minutes, but have felt that VIBE, spoken up to a nurse to verify our thoughts, to lo and behold find a mother fully dilated.contractions

Of course, learning contractions is particularly important for ESL students and speakers of foreign languages who will hear spoken contractions often and will need to be able to both recognize and reproduce them in writing as well as not confuse contractions and possessives.contractions