©THE WOMANLY ART OF BIRTH: PART ONE – 10 SIGNS YOU MIGHT GO INTO LABOUR SOON
Many women marvel at the fact that I had 3 natural births. I love learning about pregnancy, labour, natural birth and breastfeeding and I love teaching others about it too, so that they can learn from the research I have done already, and from mistakes I have made. This post about the signs of labour, is the first of a series of posts aimed at teaching women to tap into the natural ability of their body, to cope with labour and to birth their own baby! The name of my series is of course inspired by the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, a La League International Publication.
7 SIGNS THAT LABOUR IS APPROACHING SOON – IN A FEW WEEKS
Diarrhoea that comes and goes. It is caused by the hormone Prostaglandin, which is responsible for the effacement (thinning out) of your cervix. It is your body’s way of detoxing, clearing out and getting ready for birth. This is great as it decreases the chances of discomfort of full bowels or constipation during labour and it decreases the chances of accidents happening too! In my first pregnancy this occurred a few weeks before real labour, in my second, this was the onset of my real labour!
A dull backache that keeps coming back. These can be a sign of impending labour or just pain from the increasing weight and pressure of baby, or can in fact be contractions, and this is called back labour. In my third pregnancy, I had a sleepless night of back labour the night before I went into real labour. Read about that here.
Nagging period – like pain in the abdomen or lower back.
REGULAR TIGHTENING SENSATIONS IN THE TUMMY
Tightening sensations in the tummy that come and go. These may or may not be painful, but they show that the uterus is contracting. They are perfectly normal in the second trimester, but most commonly the third trimester of pregnancy, and are just your body’s way of preparing you for the real thing. These are better known as Braxton Hicks or false labour contractions. I experienced these a lot during my 7th month and I teased everyone around me that I was going into labour! But I knew I wasn’t, coz generally my babies are full term.
THE NESTING INSTINCT
Many women begin clearing up, de-cluttering the house, baby-proofing and rearranging all the baby clothes before baby comes. You could also have a surge of energy all of a sudden! This was a normal thing for me in all my pregnancies and I definitely had lots of energy in the end of my 3rd pregnancy!
The process of the baby “dropping” or settling low into the pelvis is called lightening. This eases the pressure on the diaphragm, making it easier for you to breathe. But, the uterus rests more on the bladder after this, so you may feel extra pressure low down in the pelvis as baby’s head presses against the cervix, and you may feel the need for more frequent urination. This was another crazy feeling I experienced recently in my 3rd pregnancy a few weeks before I went into real labour, when I went to the bathroom, I felt like baby was ready to jump out!
PELVIC GIRDLE PAIN
Pain in the front and side of the thighs, around the hips and groin area, and sometimes even the pelvic floor area and perineum. During pregnancy your body releases a hormone called Relaxin, which causes the ligaments to soften , stretch and slightly separate. This is your body’s way of making the pelvis more mobile, so baby can pass through : )
3 SIGNS THAT LABOUR MAY BE APPROACHING SOON – THE CLASSIC SIGNS
THE BLOODY SHOW
As the cervix effaces and dilates, the plug of mucous which seals the cervix during pregnancy becomes dislodged. The purpose of the plug is to prevent the transmission of bacteria to the uterus, and help protect baby from infection. The mucous plug can be clear, although it is often slightly streaked with pinkish or bright red blood. This can happen over time or all at once. Want to know what this looks like? Click here to see some real pictures on Mamanatural.com!!
Very painful contractions of the uterus that become more intense and painful with time. They might start coming at irregular intervals. You will know that they are true labour contractions when:
- they come at regular intervals, most of the time starting at 20 mins apart.
- they become longer, stronger and closer together
- they become intense even if you change position
- they gradually build up to a painful peak , then gradually ease off again
- they really get your attention
HOW TO TIME YOUR CONTRACTIONS:
- Write down the time the first contraction starts , then write down the time the second contraction starts, then do this for all the subsequent contractions.
- Measure the period from the time of the beginning of the first contraction to the beginning of the next contraction.
- This period of time from the beginning of one contraction to beginning of next contraction = How far apart your contractions are, and will be able to indicate the duration of the contraction, and the duration of the interval between contractions.
(I will create a diagram to more clearly illustrate how to time the contractions, when I talk about the stages of labour. )
BREAKING OF THE WATERS
This occurs when the amniotic sac, which covers and protects, ruptures, releasing amniotic fluid. It is painless and may be a slow leak or a sudden gush. Only 1 in 10 women experience their waters breaking before they start having contractions. (No it is not always like they show in the movies, where her waters break in the elevator or restaurant!) If you fear that your waters might rupture spontaneously, I suggest you travel with some linen savers in your bag, on your car seats etc. Most other women experience it well after contractions have started. Once it has ruptured it usually mean that labour can happen very soon or baby could even be ready to come out. Mine broke just before I went into active labour, for my first 2 babies, my 3rd baby was born with his sac still intact.
How did you find out you were in labour? Tell us in the comments below : )
Have you got any other labour questions? Pop them in the comments below or drop me a line using my contact form.
If you found this post helpful, please share with your expectant mommy friends : )
Birth without fear – Dr Grantly Dick – Read
*Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor or a therapist. This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. You should always consult with a qualified health care practitioner. By reading this website you acknowledge that you are responsible for your own health decisions after sufficient research and medical supervision*