Written on 14 August 2018
Before you make up your mind to grab the hospital bag make sure you are experiencing the actual symptoms of labor. A lot of women confuse their pre-labor signs or false alarms with active labor. Although every woman’s experience is different still your body will give you some signals that you will easily recognize without a doubt. Nobody can exactly predict when a woman will go into labor. Labor is a process that can take a few days or hours before your baby arrives. Here are some common signs and symptoms that you will feel when your baby is on the way:
Lightening- It is the feeling when your unborn child has moved down or dropped in the uterus. You can feel pressure in your pelvis. You feel lighter from the rib cage side because your baby has moved a little lower. When the baby is not putting pressure on your lungs, you can breathe easily. It also gives relief from heartburn.
An increased urge to urinate- When the baby’s head presses your urinary bladder it results in frequent trips to the washroom.
Bloody show- A thick mucus plug seals the opening of your cervix throughout your pregnancy so that the baby is safe inside the womb. When the cervix begins to dilate the mucus plug is pushed into the vagina. It must be expelled before delivery and when you notice a thick pink or brownish vaginal discharge then it is termed as bloody show. You must immediately seek medical help when you notice a different colored vaginal discharge.
The cervix dilates- The doctor can easily detect the effacement and dilation of your cervix during a pelvic examination before the delivery. A fully dilated cervix opens up to a width of 10cm however everyone progresses differently.
Increased back pain- You may experience dull pain in your lower back as your labor approaches. You may experience an unbearable pain that comes and goes along with some strong contractions. The stretching and shifting of the muscles and joints are preparing your body for childbirth.
Contractions- Braxton Hicks Contractions/False labor pains can start a few weeks before actual labor. You may experience the same feeling which you used to get during your menstrual cycle but with approaching labor the strong contractions will occur at regular intervals. It is considered as one of the frequent signals of onset labor because even if you take a rest, it won’t go away.
Diarrhea- If you notice that your poops are watery and loose then it means you are just 1 or 2 days far from the beginning of labor. The muscles of your rectum and pelvic are relaxing to prepare the body for the child's birth and that can lead to diarrhea. You must stay hydrated by drinking a lot of fluids.
Water breaks/ Amniotic sac ruptures- The moment you notice that you are leaking amniotic fluid you must immediately rush to the hospital. Amniotic fluid should be odorless and colorless, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish from urine. When you experience slow dripping or trickle of some fluid towards the end of your pregnancy then it is a clear sign that the labor has begun. Do not panic because it is the final sign of labor and you are ready to meet your baby.
A burst of energy- After weeks of feeling lethargic and restless, you may experience a sudden burst of energy. You may feel like going out for a walk, shopping, cooking, or clean your house but you don’t have to overdo it and you must prepare your body for delivery. During the process of childbirth, you need a lot of energy and patience. A few weeks before your labor when you experience a sudden burst of excitement and energy then it is termed as Nesting.
Slight weight loss- You may lose few pounds because your body is shedding excess water. Towards the end of your pregnancy as you experience baby drop you may be urinating in excess and due to less amniotic fluid; you will shed weight. You don’t have to worry because it won’t affect your baby’s birth weight.
Depending on your case you must consult your doctor if you notice any of the above-mentioned signs. If you are not having any complications or if your pregnancy is not at high risk then your doctor will guide you to manage active labor symptoms.
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