Are you a soon-to-be parent wondering how to know if you’re in labor? If yes, then you are not alone.
While childbirth can vary with each individual, there are certain signs that you should be mindful of that can indicate labor is beginning. Whether this is your first baby or your fourth, being aware of the signs of labor is essential to ensure you are fully prepared. This blog will look at what to watch for so you can plan accordingly. Knowing what to look out for—and understanding what it means—as you get closer to your due date can make your delivery more efficient and comfortable. So, let’s dive in.
1- Cervical Effacement and Dilation
Cervical effacement and dilation are two indicators of labor progress. Effacement means the thinning of the cervix, which begins as a way of allowing the baby to move further down the birth canal. Dilation means opening the cervix, allowing the baby to be born.
When these two processes begin, it indicates that labor is likely beginning. When your cervix begins to thin out, it also begins to stretch and soften as labor approaches. It is not uncommon to feel pressure at the cervix’s entrance.
It is referred to as cervical pressure, and it will become more noticeable as the cervix thins out, and your body prepares for labor.
While it’s essential to recognize the signs of labor, it’s equally important to pay close attention to the care a baby receives during the birthing process.
Failure to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels and heart rate or to move the baby in and out of the birth canal in a timely manner can lead to brain injury during birth and other serious complications.
It is essential to be aware of labor signs to ensure that your baby is born healthy and without complications. Paying attention to these signs can help you and your healthcare provider takes the necessary steps to ensure safe and successful delivery.
2- Diarrhea and Frequent Urination
Diarrhea can indicate approaching childbirth, especially in the days near the due date. It is your body’s way of preparing for labor and is caused by elevated levels of hormones. Frequent urination is also a common sign of labor.
As your baby grows and presses down on your bladder, you might run to the restroom more often than usual. You may also feel like you can’t empty your bladder fully.
It is because your labor hormones and Braxton hicks’ contractions may be causing increased pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and bladder.
If you experience either of these two signs, you must talk to your doctor or midwife and mention that you have had these signs. They might suggest that you come into the hospital to be checked, as these could be signs that you are reaching the end of your pregnancy and that labor is approaching.
3- Changing Pattern of Contractions
Early on in the labor process, your contractions may start very irregularly. They may come every 10 minutes or so for a short duration at first.
But as you get closer to active labor, your contractions will become stronger and more frequent. Generally, you should expect contractions every 5 to 10 minutes lasting for around 30 to 60 seconds (sometimes up to 90 seconds).
You may even experience back labor, and this is when you’ll feel contractions radiating from your back.
It’s important to know that the contractions you’re experiencing in early labor before you’re admitted to the hospital don’t necessarily mean you’re in active labor yet. However, if your contractions get more frequent and intense, it’s time to call your doctor or midwife, as you’re most likely in the active labor phase.
4- Water Breaking
Water breaking signifies that labor is beginning and your baby is preparing to be born. It is the bursting of the amniotic membranes – the sac containing the amniotic fluid that cushions your baby inside the uterus.
When this happens, the fluid comes out in a gush or trickle, depending on the flow. You may not feel the moment of the water breaking, but this is the sign that your baby is finally getting ready to meet you.
Once your water breaks, your labor will likely begin and last anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours. If more than 24 hours pass without any signs of labor, your doctor may suggest you go to the hospital.
Remember that the water breaking does not always fully mean labor is starting – it is a warning sign that labor is about to begin, but be sure to keep an eye on other physical and emotional symptoms that labor is approaching.
5- Increased Discharge of Fluids
As you move closer to delivery, your body prepares for the big day. One of the early signs of childbirth is an increase in mucus discharge. It is also referred to as a show or mucus plug, indicating that your body is getting ready for your baby’s arrival.
The mucus plug looks like thick, sticky, clear, or pink-tinged mucus and is typically released a few days or hours before active labor begins. The mucus plug signals that labor has started and that your cervix is softening and thinning, helping your baby make their way through the birth canal.
The amount of mucus you experience can vary from woman to woman, but it is usually small at first. As labor progresses, the mucus will become thicker, increase in volume, and may be tinged with a bit of blood, also known as the “bloody show.”
If you experience a significant increase in mucus or discharge, it’s a good idea to call your doctor or midwife to determine your next steps.
To conclude, expectant parents need to familiarize themselves with the signs of labor to ensure safe delivery. Although every delivery is unique, it’s beneficial to have a general understanding of the signs that labor is beginning and be aware of possible warning signs and when to contact your healthcare provider. Experiencing labor can be a stressful yet exciting part of the parenting journey, so we hope these signs will give you peace of mind and a pleasant birthing experience.
- Revamping Your Fitness Regimen: Lagree Resolutions for 2024Welcome back, fitness enthusiasts! As we step into the promising landscape of 2024, it’s time to lace up those Lagree socks and kickstart the year with a renewed commitment to our fitness goals. As you already know, December is the time to reflect on our Lagree progress and set specific fitness goals for the upcoming… Read more: Revamping Your Fitness Regimen: Lagree Resolutions for 2024
- Understanding Alcohol Abuse and AddictionWhat is alcohol abuse? Alcohol abuse refers to drinking patterns that cause harm to one’s health, relationships, or ability to work. This includes binge drinking and chronic heavy drinking. Potential effects are liver disease, accidents, conflicts with loved ones, mental health issues like depression, and reduced life quality. Recognizing alcohol abuse early enables seeking help… Read more: Understanding Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
- How to Prove Long-Term Disability in Slip and Fall Injuries in Chicago?Slip and fall accidents can result in severe injuries, leading to long-term disability for the victims. When such incidents occur in Chicago, understanding how to prove long-term disability is crucial for seeking compensation and ensuring justice. In this guide, we’ll delve into the steps involved in proving long-term disability in slip and fall injuries in… Read more: How to Prove Long-Term Disability in Slip and Fall Injuries in Chicago?
- Tips and Tricks for Success in Surviving and Thriving in NCLEX BootcampNursing is a vital and challenging profession. As nursing students gear up for the NCLEX bootcamp – they face a test that is both a rite of passage and a gateway to their careers. Succeeding in the bootcamp NCLEX is not just about academic prowess. It’s a test of endurance, resilience, and a strategic mindset.… Read more: Tips and Tricks for Success in Surviving and Thriving in NCLEX Bootcamp
- Targeting Pain: Conditions Treated by Chiropractic Services and Physical TherapyLiving with pain can feel like a never-ending battle where relief seems just out of reach. It’s like having your own personal rain cloud that follows you around, even on the brightest days. But a beacon of hope shines in the healthcare landscape, where practices like Austin Preferred Integrative Medicine offer more than just a quick fix.… Read more: Targeting Pain: Conditions Treated by Chiropractic Services and Physical Therapy