Pregnancy is not an easy journey, and labor surely takes cues from it too. After all the twists and turns that the body go through during this time, many women might not be able to realize the early signs of pregnancy.
While admittedly, some are vague, and it’s hard to keep track of them amid the pain and exhaustion but being mindful of them helps parents not getting caught off guard.
Ideally, you should be contact with your Gynecologist in Blue Area Islamabad during the last few weeks of pregnancy, who will give you clues about the imminence of labor, but these signs can be sudden as well, therefore, it is important to know them.
Just as the labor is approaching, baby tends to drop in the lower abdominal cavity, which is even felt by the mother. Baby descends because the body is preparing for labor.
The upside of baby dropping is that you are able to breathe better, as the baby no longer presses against the diaphragm of the mother. The downside is that now the baby presses on the bladder, increasing the urge for frequent urination.
Moreover, baby dropping may also increase pelvic pain in the region.
Prior to labor, women experience the Braxton Hicks contractions. These are sort of trial run by the body, as it prepares for the delivery. They are lesser in intensity than the actual contractions and also last for less period of time. Braxton Hicks may feel like cramps, as the uterus hardens and then tightens for labor.
However, it’s the real contractions that indicate that labor is just on the horizon. These are stronger and more painful, and also last for over a minute. When the contractions occur after 4-5 minutes, you can expect the labor to be 24 to 48 hours away.
Lower back pain
Lower back ache is a part and parcel of pregnancy. As your back lugs around the weight of the baby, your back gets stressed. Moreover, the joints and ligaments also become loose in the body for the preparation of the baby.
But the pre-labor back ache is completely different. The intensity of the ache in the lower back increases, and the pain goes all the way in the pelvic region as well. It is generally because as the baby descends into the birth canal, it may have its face pressing at the spine of the mother, causing the pain.
Also known as back labor, this pain does not get better with change in posture even.
Mucus plug is a thick secretion that is present at the opening of the cervix. It prevents the bacteria and pathogens from entering the body and harming the baby. However, when labor is 1-2 days away, cervix dilates. Consequently, the plug too, becomes lose and falls out.
Women may notice a blob falling down into the toilet bowl or may notice a smear running down their underwear. Most of the time, the plug is brownish or red in color, due to the blood in the region from the damage to the tiny vessels from constant dilation of the cervix.
Thus, it is referred to as ‘bloody show’
Water breaking is one of the major and most obvious signs of labor being few moments away. Amniotic sac contains fluid that protects the baby and cushions against injuries. But as the labor approaches, body starts preparing for birth, for which, it then gets rid of the fluid.
Water breaking may be entirely natural; baby’s head presses against the sac, causing it to rupture. Or your doctor may also intervene and rupture the sac.
Unlike the sensationalized water breaking on the television, the real deal is not as dramatic. Some women may feel a trickle down of water, whereas others may experience dampness in their underwear.
Since once the water breaks, risk of infection increases, therefore, if the woman does not go into labor in 12 hours of water breaking, doctor may have to induce labor as well.
Even though the weight loss is not very significant, but women drop 1-3 pound just before labor. This is the water weight lost due to the increased urination as the baby presses on the bladder, and the loss of amniotic fluid.
Dilation of the Cervix
Baby passes out of the body from the cervix, which then gets loosened towards the end of the pregnancy. Your doctor will keep track of the cervical dilation. When it is at 2-3 centimeters, you are likely to go into labor in 24-48 hours.
In endeavor to prepare for the delivery, body secretes the hormone relaxin. It causes the bones and joints to become lax and loose, to allow for delivery. It targets especially the muscles of the lower back and pelvis.
As the body enters the relax mode, the muscles of the lower back and rectum also relax. It then leads to diarrhea, which is completely normal, albeit, very inconvenient.
The instinct to prepare the house for the baby is known as nesting. It usually overtakes women in their third trimester, but it is right before labor that women enter into the hyperactive mode.
Their maternal instinct kick in, causing them to run into frenzy of getting the house ready for the baby. Generally, when this burst happens, labor is only 1-2 days away.
More to come
These signs are just a trailer of what awaits women in their journey of motherhood. Knowing these will help them recognize the symptoms of labor and timely get to the Best Gynecologist in Model Town Lahore for the delivery.