Labour Pain

A recurring pain felt by a woman during childbirth

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When does your labour really start? 6 early signs & symptoms

There are a number of different signs that may indicate that labour is not too far away. These can occur as much as a week or more before labour begins. You may also feel contractions that make you think you’re experiencing the real thing, but turn out to be practice contractions. Wondering whether you’ll know when you are in early labour? You can find a list of the most common signs of labour given below:  Common Labour Signs Although every labour is different and there is no definite set of events, some common early signs of labour include: Lightening Your baby drops lower into your pelvis in the weeks or hours before labour. This is called lightening because you may find breathing a little easier as your baby will no longer be pressing against your diaphragm. On the other hand, you may feel like you need to urinate more often. A Change in Energy Levels You may be feeling extra tired or experiencing a sudden surge of energy in the days or weeks before labour. You might also have the urge to nest and get prepared for the baby. Bloody Show You might notice a thick, pinkish or blood-streaked discharge called a bloody show. This is the mucus plug that sealed your cervix during pregnancy. It usually appears within the two weeks before labour, although it’s not always noticeable. Water Breaking Water breaking is one of the most common labour signs, usually taking place up to a day before delivery (but sometimes only during active labour), when the amniotic sac ruptures and releases the fluid inside. You could experience a gush of water or just a trickle. If your water breaks, notify your doctor or midwife. Early Contractions These feel like menstrual cramps every 20 to 30 minutes, gradually becoming stronger and more frequent. When the contractions occur every three to five minutes, you’re in active labour. Time your contractions, or have someone time them for you. Diarrhoea Loose bowels could be an extra indicator that you’re going into labour. Definitely call your doctor or midwife if you notice bright red bleeding (not pale pink or dark brown), if your water breaks (especially if the fluid is green or brown or has a foul odour), if your baby is less active, or if you have a headache, vision problems, or sudden swelling, particularly in your face and hands. Also call your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms before 37 weeks when they could signal preterm labour. What to Do When in Early Labour Don’t panic if you only experience a few signs of labour approaching, because many women don’t notice all of them. If you think you are in labour, call your doctor or midwife, whether it’s day or night. Tell them your symptoms of labour, and keep in mind you may not need to go to the hospital immediately. Your doctor or midwife will give you guidance based on your labour signs and your individual situation. Realising you're in labour can bring feelings ranging from excitement to disbelief or apprehension. Try to stay calm and focused. Arrange to have your partner or a family member with you to help record labour symptoms, keep you company, and get you to the hospital when the time comes. How to Tell Real and False Labour Signs Apart In your third trimester you may get ‘false’ or ‘practice’ contractions known as Braxton Hicks. These contractions may feel like the real thing, but if they don’t get stronger and closer together or come with other signs of labour, there is no need to call your doctor. These practice contractions are just one of the ways your body prepares for labour and nothing to worry about. Keep an eye out for specific symptoms that point towards real labour, such as the bloody show or any of the symptoms above. But to help you tell the difference between true and false labour contractions at a glance, see our table below. True Labour False Labour Contractions are regular and follow a predictable pattern (such as every eight minutes). Contractions are irregular and unpredictable, occurring, for example, in intervals of ten minutes, then six minutes, two minutes, eight minutes, etc. You experience three types of progression: contractions become closer in time, longer, and stronger. No progression is seen over time in the closeness of the contraction intervals, length, or strength of the contractions. Each contraction is felt starting at the lower back, radiating around to the front, low in the groin. Contractions are felt as a generalised abdominal tightening. A change in activity or position will not slow or stop contractions. A change in activity or position may cause contractions to slow or stop.   False labour pain can be triggered by a variety of causes, such as dehydration or a full bladder, or even when the mother and baby are active. But if you feel any of the symptoms of labour or notice that your contractions are getting closer together and more intense, then consult your healthcare provider. As you reach the end of your third trimester, the big day is coming up. To help you feel prepared, see our labour tips to help reduce any anxiety you may feel when you notice those early labour signs. You’re about to bring your baby into the world. You can do this! Content source Featured image source

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7 Signs of labor: Know what to expect

Pre-labour, or, the early signs of labour include… Mood swings In the day or two before you go into labour, you may notice heightened anxiety, mood swings, weepiness, or a general sense of impatience. (This may be hard to distinguish from the usual 9-months-pregnant impatience, we know.) It can also manifest in extreme nesting. These may all be early signs of labour; your whole body is getting ready for the main event. Cramps One of the first signs of labour is actually a familiar feeling: the pain that comes with menstrual cramps. If you’re starting to feel those diffuse discomfort and pain in the abdomen, it may be a sign that active labour is just a few hours away. Intense lower back pain Along with those seemingly familiar cramps is intense lower back pain. Sure, the final weeks of carrying around a giant human (and its liquid sustenance sac) make your back permanently sore, but this is different level of pain. And for people who experience it, it usually starts at the same time as the cramps. Spotting Another sign that your baby might be ready to start the process of shimmying down the birth canal is light spotting or slightly brown or pink discharge. This happens because the cervix is shortening and the tissue is thinning to prepare for your baby’s exit from the womb. (You may have heard the term “bloody show”? This is it.) You may even be so lucky as to pass a “mucus plug,” which is just what it sounds like, and which was blocking the opening of the cervix to protect against infection. Once that plug comes off, it’s a clear sign that the baby is ready to come out. (Don’t confuse light spotting or brown discharge with actual bleeding — if you see a flow if blood, that’s something you need to call your doctor about.) Upset stomach A few hours before labour begins, you may also feel some digestive discomfort, and even have diarrhea. This upset stomach is your body’s (clever) way of preparing you for delivery (by evacuating anything that might get in the way). Water breaking Contrary to what movies tell us, this rarely occurs to women as a sudden deluge while they’re standing in the supermarket; the vast majority of women experience labour without their water ever breaking at home or in a public place. (It usually happens when you’re already at the hospital.) But, for the women who do experience some version of the rupturing of the membranes before they get to the hospital, this can be a trickle of clear liquid. (Some women wake up thinking they’ve wet the bed!) If you experience any form of water breaking, call your doctor. Because this is a sign that the amniotic sac has ruptured, you may be more susceptible to infection after it happens; depending on your medical history and pregnancy, your doctor may want to see you, or ask you to come to the hospital, after this happens. Regular contractions Finally, probably the clearest sign that you’re in labour is regular contractions. You’ll know you’re experiencing contractions because they escalate. Over time, these signs of labour will get stronger (read: more painful), and they will become more frequent. If you notice there’s a pattern, you’re definitely in labour. Advice varies on what stage of process requires you to be at the hospital (or seen by a midwife or other birthing support professional), so seek advice from your doctor or midwife about how close your contractions should be when you make that call (and get moving). You’ve probably heard about the fakeout called Braxton Hicks contractions. These are not signs of labour — they are thought to be part of the way the body is preparing for labour. The main difference between Braxton Hicks and “real” labour contractions is that Braxton Hicks are not as painful; they are not steady, consistent, and escalating; and finally, they occur mainly around your belly (it looks/feels almost like the area around your belly tightens) rather than an overall sensation around your abdomen. But most important to remember: Braxton Hicks contractions go away eventually, they don’t get worse. Feature Image Source

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Is there a way to help my water to break at home?

Women can get their water to break with the help of a doctor, but it is not safe for them to attempt to break their water at home. However, there are many natural methods that women can use to encourage labor to begin once the pregnancy has reached full term. Can you make your water break at home? There are no proven safe ways for a woman to break her water at home. It can be dangerous if the water breaks before natural labor begins or before the baby is fully developed. During the natural process of labor, the water breaks when the baby's head puts pressure on the amniotic sac, causing it to rupture. Women will notice either a gush or a trickle of water coming out of the vagina. Many doctors say that women must give birth within 12–24 hours of the water breaking. After this time, a doctor may recommend a cesarean delivery to ensure the safety of the woman and the baby. This is because it is easier for bacteria to get into the uterus after the water breaks. This increases the risk of infection, which is a major complication that puts both the woman and the baby at risk. It may also make the birth more difficult. It is particularly dangerous to use artificial instruments to rupture the amniotic sac, as this can introduce bacteria into the uterus and cause infections. It could also injure the baby.   How to induce labor safely? The end of pregnancy can be exhausting. People believe that there are many ways to induce labor, from eating spicy food to going for long walks. There is little evidence to support most of these ideas. However, the following methods may safely help to induce labor, if the woman's body is ready. Women should only consider using these techniques to encourage the natural onset of labor once the pregnancy has reached full term. They should also confirm first with a doctor that their pregnancy is a low risk. The following tips can help you induce labor: Have sex: Having sex, particularly vaginal penetration, may help to start labour. It is not clear whether this is due to hormonal changes, physical stimulation, or something else. A 2014 study found a link between having sex during the last week of pregnancy and going into labor. Women whose water has already broken should not have sex as this can increase the risk of infection. Try nipple stimulation: Nipple stimulation may be a natural way to get the body to release oxytocin, a hormone that plays a key role in both labor and breast-feeding. Learn more about how nipple stimulation can induce labor. Eat some dates: A small 2011 study asked women to eat six dates per day during the last 4 weeks of their pregnancy. The researchers found that 96 percent of the women who ate dates had spontaneous labor, compared to 79 percent of those who did not. The women who ate dates also had greater dilation of their cervix during labour. Content source Featured image source

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Water breaking: What it feels like.

When your water breaks, it means your amniotic sac has ruptured and labour is imminent (if not already under way). But what does this actually feel like? Does it feel like a pop? Is it a big gush or a slow leak? The answer: Any of the above. Everyone's experience is different. Here's what some moms had to say: 1. The gush or splash For some moms, the water really does gush out – either in the hospital bed or in a more surprising setting: "A huge gush of fluid went all over the floor." "A huge rush of water came from deep inside. Weirdest feeling!" "It felt like a 5-gallon bucket of water had spilled out. With the next five contractions, more water came gushing out." "Flood!" "I got up and was walking into the kitchen when a massive amount of water gushed from between my legs." "An extreme gush – nothing like urinating. It didn't stop or slow down! Grossest feeling ever." "It was like someone put a hose on full blast between my legs." 2. The pop Many women feel a popping sensation when their water breaks. For others, the pop is audible: "There was a pop, like someone cracking a knuckle, and then a gush." "I heard a pop, then all of a sudden a large gush and a bunch of leaking." "I felt a popping sensation, followed by an immediate gush of very warm fluid that soaked through my pants. A little more would leak out every time I moved." "I'd already had an epidural and was lying in the hospital bed. It felt like a water balloon popped between my legs." "A water balloon popping. It didn't hurt; it just was suddenly very wet."   3. The trickle Many women experience trickling or leaking instead of the more dramatic gushing: "I felt a warm trickle of fluid down my legs." "It was so slow that I thought it was sweat or normal discharge." "I seriously thought I had wet my pants. I went to the bathroom three times and changed my clothes before realizing that I wasn't suffering from pregnancy incontinence. It didn't happen like in the movies." "I went for a walk at the hospital to relieve my contractions, and at one point I bent over to throw up. I thought the pressure of throwing up had made me pee – very embarrassing. It turned out that the pressure had actually made my water break." "I felt really wet, and it was slowly leaking. Over time, it began to leak more and more until it started gushing."   4. The in-betweener Not a dramatic gush, but not just a little trickle either – some women go for the middle ground: "It felt like small gushes, like when you first start your period." "Imagine a heavy period dripping down your leg." "I was shopping at a big store, and when I turned, I felt a small gush. It felt like period discharge." "It wasn't a trickle but not a gush either."   5. The feeling of relief Many moms feel a sense of relief when their water breaks. For some, their labor then gets more intense: "Relief! That's when it was time to push." "A huge pop, then relief from some of the pressure." "I only remember relief for a brief second and then more pain."   6. The unnoticed break Some women aren't aware of their water breaking: "I couldn't feel it because I had already had my epidural." "I didn't even know it broke until I realized I was wet." "I didn't know until I woke up and went to the bathroom and my underwear was wet." "I didn't feel it because my baby was crowning." "I didn't know what had happened. I got up and the chair was wet. I still didn't feel anything in particular except that afterward, the contractions hurt more." "I didn't realize it had broken until I saw the wetness on the hospital bed." "I felt nothing. I just noticed some leaking during contractions, and the nurse confirmed that it had broken, probably during an internal exam."   Content source Featured image source

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Benefits of having a Normal Delivery

When one is pregnant, there are many questions that they undergo, one of them being what kind of delivery is better. There are two types of deliveries – one being normal delivery and the other being C – Section. Today, we are going to talk about the benefits of having a normal delivery Below are the benefits of a normal delivery- Babies come when they’re ready -If labor starts naturally, then you know that your child is fully developed and is ready to be born. The baby’s lungs and other major organs have finished maturing and your baby is able to survive without any medical interventions if born naturally. A baby delivered surgically could be at risk for prematurity, especially if there is a miscalculation in the due date. Babies born vaginally receive protective bacteria -One of the benefits of normal delivery is that when babies are born vaginally, they pick up the protective bacteria called microbiome from their moms as they pass through the birth canal. These bacteria are helpful in building a strong immune system and help to protect the child from many illnesses. Lowered risk of respiratory problems -While passing through the vaginal canal, the compression of the baby’s thorax helps to expel the amniotic fluid. And with a natural delivery, there are various hormones that are released – these help to clear fluids from the baby’s lungs. Baby gets to breastfeed without much delay -In a normal delivery, the very first breastfeeding is not delayed much. Breastfeeding at the earliest has its own advantages. Plus the newborn’s urge to suck is the strongest in the first couple of hours after the birth and feeding section at the earliest helps the baby to latch properly. Better APGAR score -Babies born vaginally have a better APGAR score. As a C-section lacks natural stimulation and involves anesthesia, it can result in a lower APGAR score. Babies born via cesarean are 50% more likely to have lower APGAR scores than those born naturally. Apart from the benefits to the child, the mother also gains some advantages. Read below: Quick recovery -The recovery from a natural birth is almost immediate. Generally, a mother can stand up and care for herself and her baby without much assistance. Shorter hospital stays - If the natural birth was in a hospital, the mother can be discharged soon after birth. This has financial benefits also. Lesser postpartum pain - Postpartum pain is also lesser in a normal delivery, as you don’t have any big incision to be healed. Lower maternal mortality rates -Problems can arise in any birthing incident. But compared to C-section, vaginal birth has lower maternal mortality rates Natural delivery doesn’t affect future pregnancies -Since you had your child vaginally, there is no scar left over from a C-section. This means your further deliveries will have zero risks of tearing any uterine scars from a previous delivery. Sense of accomplishment -There is a sense of accomplishment that develops in women who give birth naturally. They feel that they have undergone all stages of labor and delivery and hence are stronger in their own way. Women who have normal delivery are extremely empowered and feel much more confident and are at a lower risk of having postpartum depression. Less blood loss or hemorrhage -Blood loss during C-section is much more compared to that for a vaginal delivery. Often blood transfusion is required during a C-section. No anesthesia side effects -Normal delivery doesn’t involve anesthesia and so has no risks caused by anesthesia as in a C-section. Anesthesia given can cause a lowering of blood pressure, nausea, headache, and confusion and in unfortunate cases even nerve damages and aspiration during surgery. Content Source Featured Image Source   

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Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can happen quite often and can become very uncomfortable at times. But how do you decide what pain is acceptable and when it indicates something more serious? Here’s everything you need to know about abdominal pain during pregnancy.   Is abdominal pain during pregnancy normal? Abdominal pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy and is normal in a healthy pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts pressure on your muscles, joints, veins. As your baby grows, the uterus tilts to the right which causes pain in the right side. The ligaments on both sides of your body grow to accommodate your growing baby so you may feel pain on both sides of the stomach. Having sex may sometimes trigger abdominal pain and cramping, especially during the third trimester. It might be a good idea to keep the sex soft at this time.   How to deal with normal abdominal pain during pregnancy? Getting some rest is the best way to deal with the cramps. Other methods include sitting down with your feet up, lying on the side opposite to the one which hurts, taking a warm bath, and using a hot water bottle or a heated wheat bag on the area which hurts. When can abdominal pain mean something more? Abdominal pain can be an indicator of something more under the following circumstances.   Abdominal pain unrelated to pregnancy This could be gas, bloating, UTI, kidney stones or even appendicitis. You should contact your doctor if the pain is accompanied by pain or burning when you pee, spotting or bleeding, vomiting, unusual vaginal discharge, tenderness and pain, chills and fever.   Abdominal pain during an early miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy If abdominal pain is accompanied by bleeding in your first trimester it could be an early miscarriage. You may also have painful cramping and dark, watery blood if you have an ectopic pregnancy in your first trimester. In either case, it’s best to go to the doctor immediately.   Abdominal pain during a late miscarriage Abdominal pain in the second trimester is usually nothing to worry about. In rare cases, it may indicate a late miscarriage only if it’s accompanied by bleeding. It usually occurs between 12 and 24 weeks.   Abdominal pain in the third trimester Severe abdominal pain in the third trimester could be an indicator of premature labour. In this case, you would feel pain in your pelvic or lower tummy area, backache, mild tummy cramps and diarrhoea. You may even have your water breaking, and regular contractions, or uterus tightening. This may happen between 24 weeks and 37 weeks of pregnancy and your doctor should be consulted immediately.    

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7 Strategies to make labour easier

Labour is the hardest physical task that a woman experiences. Since a normal delivery takes less time to heal and doesn’t leave any visible scars on a woman’s body, most women aim to deliver vaginally. In order to do so, the mother needs to prepare her body accordingly. Although labour is a long and painful task, there are some things that you can definitely do to make it easier and smoother for you. 1. Do Squats Daily Squats is the most beneficial exercise for every woman looking forward to delivery close to their due date. Due to its role in facilitating smoother deliveries, squats are considered to be the best exercise for easy labour. The best way to do squats is using a medicine ball, keeping it between the lower back and the wall and rotating the toes and knees as wide apart as possible. It is recommended to do 15 squats daily in this position for expecting mothers to have a great delivery experience. 2. Practice Yoga After consulting your gynecologist, practice yoga during pregnancy regularly. Not only does it help to relax the body and make it flexible but also improves your breathing and prepares the body for labour. Various yoga asanas help to make the pelvic muscles more flexible to ease labour. It helps to get rid of stress and also provides relief from the aches and pains of pregnancy. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy suffer from fewer health problems. 3. Sleep Adequately and Regularly Among all the tips on how to make labour easier and faster, this is the easiest to follow and is the most effective. As discussed earlier, such a stressful and important event like labour requires calmness from the mother’s end. Only a well and adequately rested person can adapt to such a scenario seamlessly. An expecting mother should sleep at least seven hours or more every day for a faster and smoother labour experience. The sleeping experience should be enhanced with soft, skin-friendly pillows and recliner beds for the comfort of the mother and the child. 4. Massage Regular massage of the stomach along with perineal massage towards the end of the pregnancy helps to decrease discomfort and relax the muscles of the stomach and the vagina. Perineal massage helps to stretch the tissues of the vagina and this reduces the chances of vaginal tearing during birth. Massage also helps to increase the blood circulation in the perineal tissues and this in turn speeds up the process of healing after childbirth. Massaging of the thighs may also be done during labour to release tension between the contractions and to encourage the labour to progress. 5. Practice Breathing Techniques Labour is an extremely painful experience for any woman. Breathing helps the woman in labour to adapt to the pain better and also helps in relaxing her. Breathing also helps in setting rhythmic contractions and helping the woman to push better and more efficiently. Breathing also ensures that the body has enough oxygen and the mother does not pass out due to the astronomical labour pain and cramps due to her contractions. 6. Take a Childbirth Class Pregnancy is a mentally and physically taxing period for expecting parents where there is a lot of new things to be learnt and a lot of responsibilities to be understood as well as the do’s and don’ts of parenting. Hence, it is always good to be prepared for the moment of childbirth well in advance to make sure everything goes perfectly and according to plan. A childbirth class also relieves pressure that can be faced by dealing with the unknown and helps the partners be prepared for everything from the water-breaking to the cutting of the umbilical cord. A childbirth class can also be beneficial in providing easy labour tips to make the whole process simpler and faster. 7. Stay Upright during Labour Rather than lying down and trying to push, it is considered to be better to stay upright on the bed and push. This is because gravity plays to the advantage of the mother and child as the child’s head pressing against the cervix due to gravity helps it in dilating faster and more easily. A variety of positions can also be tried out, like kneeling, squatting and standing to see what gives the best results during labour. Movement of the body also helps widen the pelvis helping the baby’s head to pass through easily. Hope the above strategies help to make your labour shorter and easier!   Content Source Featured Image Source

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Stages of Pregnancy

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10 Effective Exercises for Easy Labor & Safe Delivery

Exercises during pregnancy are not only good to keep you and your baby healthy but also prepare the body for the labor. Regular exercises ready the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis to get through delivery with lesser effort. Here are 10 Exercises to Induce Labor Naturally: 1. Pelvic Tilts Pelvic tilts are great to strengthen the pelvic muscles and prep them for labor. It is one of the best exercises to help induce labor naturally and can be started early in pregnancy. Begin by lying down on your back with the knees bent and the feet on the floor. Flatten the back against the floor and slowly bend the pelvis up. Hold it in this position for about 10 seconds and slowly release. Exercise twice a day for 10 minutes for pelvic strength. 2. Squatting Squatting is one of the most natural movements of the body and among the safest exercises that can be done during pregnancy. It builds strength in various muscles in the thigh, lower back and the abdomen while opening up the pelvis. Squats can be performed throughout a healthy pregnancy and are even thought to help orient the baby into position for delivery. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and the toes pointing forward. If you need support or stability, hold the back of a chair that is placed in front of you. While keeping your back straight, go down as though you’re about to sit on a chair. You can either do a full squat- go down all the way or a half squat where your lower lack doesn’t go below your knees. Hold this position for 5 or 10 seconds, take a deep breath and exhale as you rise back up. 3. Exercise ball  An exercise ball is a fun addition to your workout routine.  Sit in the centre of the ball with your feet flat on the ground, and the knees bent. Use your feet to roll back and forth or just bounce up and down gently on the exercise ball. Rolling on the ball and gentle bounce are some of the good exercises to induce labor at 38 weeks as the bouncing motion can help position the baby for a natural birth. 4. Pelvic floor Exercises Pelvic floor exercises activate the pelvic floor muscles that support pelvic organs such as the bladder, urethra, vagina, uterus, small intestines and rectum. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and gaining a good control over them can help during the pushing stage of labor. It is said that by voluntarily relaxing them you can ease the birthing process. Contract the pelvic floor muscles tighter for a count of five seconds, hold for five seconds and release for a count of five. Practice this 10 or 15 times a day. 5. Butterflies The butterflies are a simple exercise that open up your pelvis and build flexibility in the surrounding muscles along with strengthening the muscles of the back and thigh. Butterflies are easy and can be done from the moment you’re pregnant to the time you deliver. Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together. Pulse your legs up and down like the wings of a butterfly and feel the muscles in your thigh stretch. Maintain a pace and range of motion that feels comfortable to you.  6. Lunges Lunges are effective in warming up the hips and open them up to let the baby rotate and descent. They can be used to induce labor naturally. Stand with both the legs together and take one big step forward. Descend your lower back while pivoting on the front knee while you feel the muscles in your back and hind leg stretch. For added safety and balance push up against a wall while you do it. Alternate the legs and repeat the exercise. 7. Stair Climbing Climbing stairs requires you to use all the muscles of your lower back and legs. The stretching and movement of the hips help orient the baby’s head down towards the birth canal. Stair climbing is a wonderful way of inducing labor naturally as it prepares the body for the physical exertion of labor. It also presses on the cervix, prompting it to dilate and opens up the pelvic region. 8. Walking It shouldn’t come as a surprise that walking can have tons of benefits to your body during your pregnancy and this is low impact aerobic exercise is a perfect way to induce labor naturally  9. Back Stretches Back stretches are among the best exercise for labor pain reduction as they help relieve muscle tightness during labor. The following exercise stretches the muscles along the spine, shoulders and the back of your legs. It can also be tried whenever you feel a tension in the back. Facing a wall, bend forward pivoting at the hips, so your upper body makes a 90-degree angle with your legs. The back should be flat and the legs straight or slightly bent. Now place your hands on the wall at the shoulder level. Relax your head while you look down keeping it at the level of your arms. Push your hands into the wall as you lean back from the hips until you feel a stretch in the back and the muscles in the back of your legs. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and return the hips to a neutral position. 10. Leaning Leaning forward is the best way to counter all the time you spend leaning backward every day. Leaning forward is also essential to help flip the baby into an optimal position. You can lean on anything that’s comfortable such as counters, tables or an exercise ball. If you can still work, try and scrub the floor while on hands and knees to help add to all the leaning time you need. Regular exercises throughout pregnancy help prepare your body for a natural birth. They are also a wonderful way to induce labor naturally while keeping you warmed up for the stresses of childbirth. content source

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Never miss these top 10 vital signs and symptoms of labour

While there are characteristic changes in the body with impending labour, every woman's experience is unique and different. "Normal" can vary from woman to woman. The signs and symptoms of normal labor can begin three weeks prior to the anticipated due date up until two weeks afterward, and there is no precise way to predict exactly when a woman will go into labor. This article describes the 10 most common signs and symptoms that labor is approaching. 1. The baby drops Medically known as "lightening," this is when the baby "drops." The baby's head descends deeper into the pelvis. For some women, this occurs up to 2 weeks prior to the beginning of labor; other women may not notice this event at all. 2. An increased urge to urinate An increased urge to urinate can be a result of the baby's head dropping into the pelvis. The low position of the baby's head puts even more pressure on the urinary bladder, so many women approaching labor might feel a frequent need to urinate. As the baby drops, breathing can become easier since there is less pressure on the diaphragm from underneath. 3. The mucus plug passes Passage of the mucus plug is a known sign that labor is near. Thick mucus produced by the cervical glands normally keeps the cervical opening closed during pregnancy. This mucus plug must be expelled before delivery. Pressure from the baby's head causes the mucus plug to be expressed from the vagina, sometimes as blood-tinged vaginal discharge (referred to as "bloody show"). For some women, the mucus plug is not expelled until after labor begins; others may notice the mucus discharge in the days prior to the onset of labor. 4. The cervix dilates Dilation of the cervix is a sign that labor is approaching, although this is detected by the health-care professional during a pelvic examination. This begins in the days and even weeks prior to the onset of labor; "Fully dilated" means the cervix has dilated to a width of 10 cm. 5. Thinning of the cervix In addition to dilation, thinning (effacement) of the cervix also occurs. This occurs in the weeks prior to labor, since a thinned cervix dilates more easily. This sign is also detected by the health-care professional during a. 6. Back pain Many women note they experience back pain, especially dull pain in the lower back that comes and goes, as labor approaches. Back pain may accompany contractions felt in other locations or may occur on its own. Women also notice loosening of the joints, particularly in the pelvic area, as the third trimester progresses, in preparation for delivery. 7. Contractions Contractions, which can vary among women and can be described as pounding, tightening, stabbing, or similar to menstrual cramps, increase in strength and frequency as labor approaches. Irregular contractions, known as Braxton-Hicks contractions or "false labor," occur toward the end of pregnancy during the third trimester. Braxton-Hicks contractions are usually milder than those of true labor, and they do not occur at regular intervals. When contractions begin to occur less than ten minutes apart, this frequently signals the onset of true labor. 8. A burst of energy In contrast to feeling extra tired as is typical of pregnancy, many women describe feeling a sudden burst of energy and excitement in the weeks prior to labor. Often referred to as "nesting," this impulse often is accompanied by a sense of urgency to get things done or make plans for the baby. 9. Feeling the urge to have a bowel movement (diarrhea) Women often describe the pelvic pain and pressure as feeling the urge to have a bowel movement. Some women also report experiencing diarrhea or loose bowel movements in the days preceding labor. 10. Your water breaks Rupture of the amniotic membranes, or one's "water breaking," usually is a sign that labor has begun. Despite how it is often portrayed in movies, it is typically not a dramatic gush of fluid, but rather a slower dripping or trickle. Amniotic fluid should be colorless and odorless. It can sometimes be hard to distinguish from urine, but amniotic fluid does not have an odor. If you are leaking amniotic fluid, it is essential to contact your health-care professional right away.

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