Pregnancy has been a long journey and it is almost time to give birth according to your prenatal visits. Every woman virtually has a different experience with labor since some may not notice some of the signs or they may not associate them with the labor. You need to find out for yourself what you should expect when labor begins so that you know what to look for.
This is when the baby settles into your pelvis. It could happen a few hours or even weeks before labor. It is a sure sign that labor is coming soon. You will feel the urge to urinate more frequently because the baby is putting a little more pressure on your bladder.
Passing the mucus plug
When you get pregnant some mucus accumulates at your cervix and plugs it shut. This plug protects the baby from infections. When you begin to dilate the mucus plug slips out and it could be tinged with a little blood.
The abdomen tightens during a contraction and relaxes when it stops. They feel like a dull ache in your lower back and abdomen. As compared to false labor, labor contractions will not stop when you change position. Contractions also increase in intensity and begin to become closer apart and regular as time progresses.
This you will see vividly! A gush of warm fluid will start running down between your legs involuntarily. You may think you wet yourself but your water just broke. The amniotic sac has ruptured and released its contents. Labor should come 12 to 24 hours later. If it doesn’t talk to your doctor because staying too long after the water breaks could lead to an infection.
Effacement and Dilation
Effacement is the ‘ripening’ of the cervix and is measured in percentage. It begins to thin out and shorten in preparation toallow the baby through. Dilation is when your cervix stretches and opens up. 100% dilation is when your cervix has opened up to 10cm. These two you will not feel physically but the doctor will be able to determine this with a physical exam.
You may not experience all the signs of labor so don’t assume that since you have only seen a few then it is not considered as labor. Get some sleep before the contractions get stronger and let someone know that the process has begun for you. When the contractions get stronger pick your bag and head to hospital for the birth!