So, the time is near; you have waited for that day eagerly and nervously at the same time. If it is your first time and this is your ninth month then you might have questions regarding labor which is quite natural. What will happen at that time? When will it happen and how will you feel? How long it may take and how to know if it’s the time? Many such questions popup in your mind. Let us tell you that there are signs that will indicate you that it’s the time for labor. Let us tell you everything in detail.
Pre-Labour ( 1 To 4 Weeks Prior Labour)
1. Baby Starts To Descend Your Pelvis
Just a few weeks before labor your baby will start to descend your pelvis which is common for first-time moms; however, this is light for a second time and next pregnancies; this happens right when you are in labor. For first time moms, it starts few weeks prior and the baby starts taking his position. The head will be downwards and very low. This means you will waddle more than before and will take more bathroom breaks than ever since your baby’s head is pushing downwards and is pressing the bladder. The good news is you can breathe freely than before since your baby is moving away from your lungs.
2. Cervix Dilation
Few weeks before your cervix starts to dilate and efface slowly. Next time when you go for a check-up, the dilation and effacement might be measured. It differs from woman to woman but there is nothing to worry about it. It is totally fine if you are dilating too slow or too soon.
3. Cramps and Back Pain
Your cramps and back pain worsens. You will feel it in your groin and lower back as time passes. Slowly your muscles and joints will stretch and shift so that you can give birth to your baby.
4. Little Looser Joints
The hormone known as relaxin has loosened and softened your ligaments which is responsible for the bouts of clumsiness. Few weeks before your labor begins, your joints will become little looser so that your pelvis also can open up easily leaving little passage for the baby.
This is something really annoying at this stage but like your uterus muscles are relaxing, your other body muscles including rectum also relax which results in motions. It is a good sign but you need to stay hydrated.
6. Weight Gain Stops and Starts Losing Weight
At this stage women stop gaining weight; some women lose a couple of pounds. This is normal and will not affect your baby. This might be because you are now losing amniotic fluid and taking more bathroom breaks.
You start feeling fatigue and get tired so often that wish to take rest but this is very difficult to take a nap with your belly and all the symptoms of your first trimester coming back. Try to take naps in the morning if possible because nights are just not sufficient. However, there are women who feel more energetic as the day nears; they start working more than before. This is quite normal and need not worry about it.
8. Vaginal Discharge
Early labor is the stage just a few hours before you get labor. In this stage, your vaginal discharge changes its color and consistency. It gets thickened and discharges more than before. You may also see the loss of the mucus plug which can be called as the cork that seals the uterus. It is a large piece of mucus with faint blood stains or you may even see many small pieces; however, you will not be able to see if you are flushing it off. The thickened and pinkish vaginal discharge is known as a bloody show which indicates that you will be in labor soon. Sometimes it might be a few days away instead of hours.
9 .Strong and Frequent Contractions
The contractions you used to get months back are known as Braxton-Hicks contractions; the contractions you get now might be little stronger and more frequent than before. They can be an early sign of active labor but you cannot differentiate between these contractions. How to know if these are real or false contractions? You will feel it as the uterus muscles tighten and it is the same for all contractions. Look for few other signs to differentiate them.
If you are physically active, the contractions get stronger but don’t get ease at all.
The contractions doesn’t go away even if you change your position.
The pain starts in the lower back and slowly moves towards lower abdomen and then legs.
You get stronger and more frequent contractions and sometimes in a pattern.
10. Water Breaks
This is the final sign of your labor and is experienced by most of the women. Usually many think that this is the only sign of labor which is not true. Less than 15% of women experience this.
If you are still not sure about it then your midwife will let you know about it. You just need to keep visiting them.
Are You In Labour? What Should You Do?
Your midwife or doctor might have told on what to do before labor. Based on the distance you should plan and start immediately to the hospital. But if you are not sure if you are in labor then don’t hesitate to call the doctor or midwife. Let them know all the symptoms and clarify your doubts. They will advise you on what to do next. If they ask you to visit a hospital immediately then do not delay.
Call them when:
- You bleed or see bright red discharge.
- Your water breaks especially when the fluid is brown or green. This means that meconium is present (this is the first stool of your baby). This can be dangerous if your baby ingests or inhales it before birth.
- Your vision changes or you get swelling, headache, etc. These might be symptoms of preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced
This is how a woman goes into labor with all these signs and symptoms. You also know when to call your doctor and how to know that it is the time for labor. Plan accordingly and give birth to a healthy baby.