Signs of labor approaching
Every pregnant woman is looking forward to her baby. But no one knows and will not be able to give an exact answer to the question “when the baby is born”.
According to a study that was conducted in America (in 2002), only 4% of babies are born in the expected time. Therefore, you should not hope and be sure that the doctor’s forecasts will be accurate. Pregnancy is such a complex process that it is unrealistic to give in to mathematical calculations. It is much more reliable to listen to your body and notice changes that occur at a certain period of pregnancy.
How do you understand when does labor starts? Today, we will talk about symptoms before labor begins which signal that you need to go to the maternity hospital urgently.
First signs of labor approaching
There is no parenting activity that begins abruptly and without early signs of labor. Therefore, childbirth is always preceded by certain changes that are associated with the hormonal restructuring of the body, especially the secretion of estrogen. The influence of these hormones is reflected in the well-being and behavior of a pregnant woman. What signs of labor approaching can a pregnant woman feel?
What are the early signs of labor?
Decrease in weight of a body
This is a physiological mechanism when a woman’s body swells and is filled with fluid. This pattern is due to the influence of the progesterone hormone, which regulates the process of fluid accumulation (stock) in a pregnant woman’s body.
In about 2 weeks, a woman who is expecting a child may lose 0.5-2 kg (l) of extra fluid under the influence of the hormone (estrogen) which we described above.
A pregnant girl may notice how easily she puts on or takes off her shoes after a long walk; her fingers are not swollen so much and the wedding ring is worn on her finger. Thus, the body sends signs that labor is near.
The lowering of the abdomen (uterus) is one of the signs that labor is coming soon
Usually, this sign of labor is present in those women who are going to give birth for the first time. It may be absent and not felt at all or occur a few days before Day X for those women who are expecting a second (third) child.
Women may feel the body of the child starting to fall to the lower part of the uterus, to the pelvic area. The child stops exerting pressure on its internal organs. The expectant mother may feel that the breathing process has become easier (the fetus has stopped pressing down on the lung diaphragm), that she is no longer worried about heartburn or belching (no pressure on the stomach). But instead, there may be discomfort in the groin area. The bladder will be under pressure (urination is becoming more frequent).
A woman may also feel no strong pain in the lower abdomen as a result of moving a child. The inguinal ligaments may also be irritated by touching the child’s head to the nerve endings.
Changes (disorder) of stool and appetite are signs of true labor
Hormones also affect the intestinal musculature of a pregnant woman. It can contract much more often (and vice versa) than usual. This will be the reason for frequent trips to the loo (2-3 times a day).
Very often, a woman may be frightened that these signs of impending labor are a consequence of an intestinal infection.
If this is the result of infection, you should have concomitant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, unpleasant smell, and fecal color. In the other case, it is only the next baby is coming soon. So you have no reason to worry.
On top of that, you may feel a loss of appetite (a refusal to eat) or a change in taste preferences, all these are still one of the first signs of labor. This way, the body prepares itself for natural childbirth.
False labor – signs labor is soon
They exist to train/prepare the uterus for real labor before childbirth.
False labor is not as painful as before birth and you can safely survive it at home and not go to the hospital. Usually, they become more frequent after 38 weeks of pregnancy. They are similar to the contractions of Braxton-Hicks when the uterus shrinks and rots for a few seconds and then returns to the same state again.
The main difference between false and real labor is the duration and intensity of sensations. False labor is usually one-time and not lasting (the pain is tolerated and doesn’t increase with time).
The real labor is characterized by the periodicity and increasing strength of pain. They become more and more prolonged, the pain is bright and the intervals between contractions are reduced to a minimum. These sensations cannot be confused and in such cases, it is necessary to urgently go to the maternity hospital.
How to know labor is near? – Feel your mood
The emotional sphere is also influenced by hormones. A woman who notices a sudden change of mood, quickly gets tired and often wants to sleep, feels apathy, powerlessness, and lack of energy on anything can relate to the signs of going into labor. Thus, a woman’s body accumulates energy and prepares for a very energy-consuming event – childbirth. Among fatigue you may also notice that you have a need for privacy, you increasingly want to be alone and reflect on your feelings and experiences. Moral preparation and calmness, the right attitude – these are some of the main components of a successful birth.
Mucus on underwear (mucous membrane cork separation)
The cervix of a pregnant woman produces a mucous secret that protects the uterine cavity from the penetration of pathogens.
This is another sign that birth is very close. The cervix of the uterus becomes softer under the influence of estrogen before the birth of the child. The secretions may have a jelly consistency and different shades – transparent, yellow-brown, white, and with bloody secretions. All these shades of mucus are absolutely normal for this period of pregnancy and mean one thing: you will give birth soon.
Mucus cork can be separated at a time and can come out during the day with small clots.
As you have already understood, the discharge of amniotic fluid is a clear and most correct sign that labor has started. The water may break gradually. Usually, one part (front water) leaves before childbirth (about 100-200 ml), and most of the amniotic fluid leaves after having a child.
All these harbingers of childbirth are not a reason to go to the maternity hospital urgently. These are normal processes that are related to the restructuring of the body.