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When Do I Call For Help?
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When Do I Call For Help?

I am just under three weeks away from my due date with my second child, I'm 25. A year ago I was diagnosed with epilepsy and have been taking my anti-seizure medicine the entire pregnancy, Carbamazepine and Topiramate if it makes a difference. In all honesty I've had a relatively easy pregnancy. The seizures have dropped from a dozen+ a week to one or two a month. Point is everything has been perfectly fine and dandy up until now.

Last Wednesday I was checked and 50% effaced, no dilation, and baby was in -1 station. Roughly the same as my first child was at the same time. She ended up being a week overdue and I was induced. Her labour was also pretty easy. I don't remember having any contractions, Braxton Hicks or otherwise (or cramping) before either so I maybe I'm worrying about nothing.

Now for my question: I have been having stronger and stronger and more painful contractions over the course of the last week. Some are just sudden lower belly pains and some ripple down from the top to bottom with a good deal of pressure in my groin. There is a lot of cramping down low during these times too. I'll have one or two and then nothing for hours and sometimes I'll have as many as 5 in an hour then they just stop. What I'm worried about is that the 'contractions' are causing me to have tingling and numbness in my lower body, mostly my feet - but up my legs into my thighs as well. The stronger the contraction the more intense the feeling. Is this normal?
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If you were my patient, I would advise you that your symptoms sound fairly normal.  I usually tell my own patients to call me if the contractions become regular and more than 6 per hour.  The biggest difference between real and "false" labor is the regularity of the contraction pattern.  If the contractions become really painful, or if the water breaks, or if the baby slows down his/her typical frequency of movement, I usually want to hear about these too.
Second labors are almost always faster and easier than first!
Good luck!
Dr B
Hi I think what you are experiencing is normal, you are having braxton hicks but they are more intense during a second pregnancy, I never felt any with my first pregnancy.
It is the same after the birth too, I had after pains for about a week after my second pregnancy but none after my first, nobody told me how different my second pregnancy would be lol!
The tingling and numbness you are experiencing sounds like your baby's head is pressing on a nerve, like sciatica.
Those last few weeks are very hard, I hope you are not waiting too much longer.
If you are concerned or feel that something is wrong, see your doctor or midwife.
I kind of figured these were braxton hicks because they came and went and they didn't wrap around and they calm if I change positions and everything else I read about the difference between the two. If the pains after birth are worse with second children I think I'd like to take a vacation from myself this time around. :)

I was kind of freaking out because the feeling is identical to my seizures when it goes all the way up to my legs and when it's just my feet which are affected it feels like the RA but not as long lasting of course.

As long as it's 'normal' or close enough to it I'll be happy and not worry so much. Well his daily movements have been slowing down - I've felt all of three 'kicks' in the last 24 hours. With my first, my contractions never got regular. I'd have four or five about 3-4 minutes apart and then go back to having them every 15 minutes or so. She still managed to greet the world just over 5 hours after I got started. I suppose that's also why I've been so worried - besides general hormones and such.
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