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Signs of Labor - How to Read Your Body's Signals

 

Signs of Labor - How to Read Your Body's Signals

Signs of Labor - How to Read Your Body's Signals

Contents of the article

  • Signs of imminent labor
  • The first signs of labor: contractions
  • Real labor or false labor?
  • Connection

As your due date approaches, you may be wondering if you will know if you will be in labor when it comes to you. Don't worry: a woman's body almost always gives her the signals she needs and the innate instincts to recognize labor.

Signs of imminent labor

There are two main indicators that labor will soon begin within a day or two.

1. Rupture of the membranes (amniotic sac)

** You may have heard this as well under the name of water flood. The amount of clear amniotic fluid that leaks from a cyst and flows out of the vagina varies from woman to woman. Some of them see it drips, others see it. Surprisingly, this precursor to labor is one of the first symptoms in less than 25 percent of women, as it can occur during labor rather than before. However, if it occurs before labor, there is a high chance that labor will start within 24 hours. In the event you have a flood, you should immediately notify your doctor or midwife. Note the time of the flood, the color and amount of the fluid, and whether it has a foul odor. Report all of this information to your healthcare provider.

2. Blood

A day or two before contractions start, you may notice mucus secretions that are pinkish or blood-stained. These "bloody secretions" come from the mucus plug that closed the cervix during pregnancy. Not every woman notices these secretions, and some women begin contractions before the mucus plug is released. But bear in mind that this blood secretion is not the same as the blood-brown discharge that you may experience after a vaginal examination at a prenatal appointment, so it is not a cause for concern.

The first signs of labor: contractions

The biggest sign that you are in labor is the onset of regular uterine contractions. At first, these contractions are similar to menstrual cramps or lower back pain that comes and goes every 20 to 30 minutes. Gradually, the pain or cramping becomes stronger and longer. Contractions also become more frequent, until they come every three to five minutes. To determine the times of contractions, write down the exact time and duration of each contraction.

Real labor or false labor?

Real labor

False labor

Contractions are regular and follow a predictable pattern (such as every eight minutes).

Contractions are irregular and unpredictable, occurring, for example, every 10 minutes, then every 6 minutes, then every 2 minutes, then every eight minutes, etc.

You feel three types of progression: contractions a) get closer with time, b) longer with time, and c) stronger over time.

There is no progress over time.

Each contraction begins in the lower back and then moves forward and down the groin area.

Contractions start as a general abdominal cramping.

Changing activity or position  will not  slow or stop contractions.

Changing activity or position may slow or stop contractions.

There may be bloody secretions.

There is usually no bloody secretion.

The membranes may rupture.

The membranes will not rupture.

Your doctor or midwife will notice changes in the cervix, such as ripening (softening), effacement (thinning) or dilation.

No changes occur in the cervix.

Connection

You should contact your health care provider if you think you are in labor. Take notes with you when you call, so you can provide accurate information about your symptoms. Don't be afraid to call at any time, day or night. The caregiver knows that labor does not always start between nine and five, and when doctors or midwives are waiting for a call, they expect it at any time.

Also, bear in mind that you may not need to go to the hospital right away. In fact, if this is your first baby, most doctors or midwives will suggest that you stay in the comfort of your home until contractions occur every five minutes. If you have had labor and delivery before, you may be asked to come to the hospital faster because your labor may progress much faster.

Realizing that you are in labor can bring with it a lot of mixed feelings, of happiness, disbelief and panic. Try to stay calm and focused. Have your partner or a friend with you to help you record your symptoms, accompany you, and drive you to the hospital when the time is right. Above all, you must know that you can do the task ahead of you: the birth of your baby!

 

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