6 Signs of Labour You Should Not Ignore
For most pregnant mums, as exciting and gratifying a pregnancy feels, somewhere around the third trimester, either anxiousness or impatience might begin to set in. Yes, it’s no joke carrying around a little bundle inside your womb for months! As the time to give birth gets nearer, it’s important to know all the bodily cues that your baby is ready to come out!
Be ready for anything!
As the time to give birth gets nearer, your body will start to give off signals to show that your baby is about to make his or her grand debut. During this crucial time, it’s always best to keep alert and be ready to expect the unexpected, including a really short labour! Many mums who have given birth before will testify that not every labour and birth experience is the same and you cannot depend on your previous experience to determine what will happen the next time around. There are no set patterns for this and each woman can go through it very differently. Hence, if you happen to be a first-timer, it’s especially essential to be aware of what’s happening to your body during your last days of pregnancy.
Back begins to ache
If you’re lucky enough to not suffer any serious form of back ache during the duration of your pregnancy, you can safely depend on this indicator that the time for your baby’s debut is really near! Be aware of the onset of an uncomfortable, heavy feeling anywhere along the lower back, be it a persistent one or one that comes and goes. Some women may even liken this lower back ache to something they feel when they’re having their period.
As your due time approaches, the hormone relaxin is released to loosen the ligaments ahead of birth, and this can result in some aches around the joints in the spine. This pain becomes more intense as the baby moves into position, getting ready to be born.
A sudden feeling of lightened load
As your baby moves down deeper into the pelvis, you might feel as if the load in your belly has lightened a little. Some women may even find it a little easier to breathe as their diaphragm is no longer being pushed upward. There may even be a noticeable shift in the position of your bump.
In regards to this, you find yourself needing to go to the bathroom more often too. This is due to your baby now bearing down more heavily on your bladder. Not all babies “drop” in this way, though – some babies might wait until the onset of contractions before they decide to shift into position.
As your delivery time approaches. prostaglandin, a hormone that kick-starts the body into labor, is released into your bloodstream. This will help speed things up for you and your baby. You may have a bout of diarrhea as your body prepares by emptying your bowels for the onset of labor.
If you happen to already be at the hospital during this time, do remember that doctors and midwives are well prepared for this. Hence, they will attend to it quickly so new mums really need not feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about this at all!
Frequent false warnings (Braxton Hicks contractions)
The regularity of “practice” contractions, aka Braxton Hicks contractions may well increase as labor gets close. You’ll possibly find them becoming more intense and even painful as the time for your baby’s birth draws closer. Actual labor contractions though, are stronger with regular intervals and as the labour progresses, they tend to get closer and closer together. Unlike Braxton Hicks contractions, the real ones won’t stop until your baby is born.
One of the main signs that the time for labor is really near is what’s simply called the “show”. During your pregnancy, a mucus plug forms to block the cervix and protect the uterus from possible infection. This plug comes off as your cervix starts to thin out. When it does come off, you might experience a leakage of thick mucus discharge known as the “bloody show” appearing from your vagina. For many women, contractions follow suit soon after this bloody show takes place.
Your water breaks
Another common sign that you’re going into labor is what’s known as water breaking. This is the worldwide term used when the membrane of the fluid protecting the womb breaks and leaks out through the vagina. Like the bloody show, this too may follow or coincide with the onset of labour contractions. You should call your midwife or the hospital for advice and to alert them if your water has just broken. In some cases though, especially if the labour is not progressing as it should, the midwife or doctor may actually be required to assist in making this happen to help speed up the delivery.
The last stage right before birth
It’s only at around the point that the cervix has dilated to three centimeters or more that it is considered that labor has become “established”. Until this point, you may still be told to be patient and that your labour hasn’t progressed enough. You’ll be encouraged to keep active, to walk around and drink lots of fluid. As the contractions become more intense, you will need to use any breathing or relaxation techniques that you’ve practiced. Your cervix needs to be fully dilated (about 10 centimeters) for a baby to pass through.