In the last weeks of pregnancy, pregnant women are reeling with many questions related to labor and delivery. And the most common question is “How to know when the labor has started?”
To answer this, moms can consult the following list of 10 signs of labor to prepare thoroughly to meet the little angel.
1. A lower belly is the first sign of birth
A few weeks before the baby is born, the baby will move downward in the pelvis. Particularly for pregnant women giving birth a second time, this sign is often quite vague and can only be felt when the actual labor is over. For first-time pregnant mothers, this could be a sign one week before giving birth.
At this time, the feeling in the pelvis will be heavier so mom will find walking more difficult. But the good news is: Mom will find it easier to breathe because the baby no longer occupies the space of the lungs, helping to reduce the pressure on the chest.
2. The cervix begins to open
Mom may notice that the cervix enlarges a few days or weeks before giving birth. If a pregnancy check-up is scheduled during this time, the doctor will help mom to check the cervical openness. The speed of opening the pelvis is different for each woman. It is a real sign of labor.
3. Moms stop gaining weight
At the end of pregnancy, the weight of the pregnant women tends to slow down, or moms even lose a few pounds. This is normal and does not affect fetal development. Losing weight may be because of the reduced amount of amniotic fluid in preparation for the upcoming delivery.
4. Moms feel tired and just want to lie down
At this stage, some pregnant women will feel tired like in the first trimester. Besides, moms feel really difficult to sleep, especially at night.
5. Moms have to suffer more from cramps and back pain
When going to give birth, moms will suffer more from cramps and back pain, especially if it’s the first time having a baby. At this time, the joints in the pelvis and uterus are stretched to prepare the birth of the baby.
6. The joints are relaxed
During pregnancy, relaxin hormones help the ligaments become softer and more elastic. Don’t be alarmed if noticing the joints loosen up. It’s just a natural symptom, helping the pelvis expand and show the most obvious sign of labor.
The muscles in the uterus begin to relax, preparing for childbirth and helping all the muscles in the body rest, including the rectum area. This will trigger diarrhea. Diarrhea will make moms feel a little bit annoyed, but it will get over soon.
8. Vaginal mucus changes in color and adhesion
Usually, a few days before birth, the mother will notice more vaginal discharge and may be a little thicker. The reason is that the mucus plugs the cervix to prevent infection, will slough off in the uterus.
The mucus looks viscous, pale yellow like an egg white. In some cases, when the mucus is peeled off, there will be some blood. This is called the birth warning blood and it is a good signal for the upcoming childbirth.
However, if the contractions have not taken place or the uterus has not expanded by 3-4 cm, the mother may have to wait a few more days. Vaginal bleeding is an important sign of labor, the mother should immediately notify the doctor to be checked and monitored promptly.
9. The contractions are getting stronger and stronger
Contractions are the most obvious signs of labor. The mother will feel strong contractions as if the uterus muscles are squeezing in preparation to “expel” the baby.
A real contraction will be stronger, painful and more uncomfortable
The contractions don’t decrease or disappear when moms change positions.
The pain will start from the lower back and move gradually to the lower abdomen and finally to the legs.
The frequency of contractions is increasingly continuous, more painful and more regular, they are about 5-7 minutes apart.
10. Rupture of amniotic fluid
Many people mistakenly think that once the amniotic fluid breaks, the baby will be born immediately after. However, this is only the scenario in the movie. In fact, only a small number of pregnant women give birth right after amniotic fluid rupture. Most other women usually take a few hours to actually give birth.
When should mom call a doctor?
Moms need to call the doctor right away if:
- Bleeding or vaginal discharge with fresh blood, not brown or light pink blood.
- Broken amniotic fluid, especially when the discharge is green or brown because this can be the “meconium” of the baby, this is the first feces in the baby’s life and they will be in danger if they inhale or swallow it during birth.
- Feeling dizzy, headache or suddenly the body is swollen or swollen severely because this is a symptom of pre-eclampsia or pregnancy hypertension.
When noticing one of the 10 signs of giving birth, moms need to be quickly delivered to the nearest hospital for support!