This is the time that youâ€™ve been waiting forâ€¦ Questions will pile up like when will it happen? How will I know it is time? How will it feel? And many more
The last days may stretch especially because you want it to happen and are waiting for the signs. Biggest point that should be kept in mind is that every pregnancy is unique and hence the person may experience different signs before going into labor.
Signs of labor
The body starts preparing itself for the process of labor and delivery.
- Baby â€˜dropsâ€™
Your baby is getting into position to make his/her exit:Â head down and low.
You might sense a heaviness in your pelvis as this happensÂ but the good news is you have a little more breathing room, since baby is moving away from your lungs.
- Your cervix dilates
Your cervix starts to dilate (open) and thin out in the days or weeks before your due date.Your health care practitioner may do a vaginal exam during your prenatal visit nearing your due date to see whether your cervix has started to change.
- Braxton Hicks Contractions
In the last few weeks of pregnancy, you may get what is known as false labor or practice labors. So how do we tell the difference between these labors and the real ones? Â Braxton Hicks contractions go away after sometime. These are triggered by hunger or dehydrated so once you are hydrated or have eaten, these contractions lessen and disappear. While true labor pains do not lessen, but on the contrary become more frequent and intense over time until delivery.
- Discharges/Bloody Show
You may lose yourmucous plugÂ â€” the cork sealing off your uterus from the outside world to avoid infections. It can come out in one large piece (it looks similar to the mucous you have in your nose, but with faint streaks of blood). However, please keep in mind that you might lose it early due to activity or the baby and it will grow back (yes, a plug can grow back if lost too early.) Some women donâ€™t lose their plugs until they begin labor while others lose them days or weeks before.
During early part of the labor, your body will release certain hormone like substance that cause the uterus to contract and help soften and dilate the cervix. But prostaglandins can also hyper stimulate the bowels, causing frequent stools or even diarrhea.
- Your water breaks
Try not to scare yourselves to death if you donâ€™t notice this, as this is not the most frequent phenomenon that occurs unlike what the movies show us.
Water breaking would mean the fluid-filled amniotic sac surrounding your baby ruptures, fluid leaks from your vagina. It may be in a gush or small trickle.Usually, you would have regular contractions before the water breaks. Oncethis happens, labor usually follows soon.
Things to do before the baby arrives
- Pack a hospital Bag â€“One bag for you and one bag for the baby. Your bag may contain the following:
- Pajamas/lounging outfit for after the baby is born, if you donâ€™t want to be stuck in the hospital gown
- Music for during and after labor
- Camera/video camera to record the birth and get your first pictures of baby
- Snacks for during labor for you and your labor partner
- Maxi-pads to go home in (the hospital will supply what you need while there)
- Clothes to go home in
- Any medicine you are on, including your prenatal vitamins
- List of numbers of who to call after the baby comes
Baby bag should have the following plus anything else that you can think of:
- Going home outfit
- Gowns for baby while in hospital
- Special baby blanket
- Diapers/Wipes (hospital will supply some but it is always good to have extras!)
- Diaper rash cream
- Scratch mitts
- Keep important numbers handy for both you and your partner
- Prepare the crib with fresh sheets â€“ laundry would be something far away from your mind when you are recovering from childbirth.
- See a movie
- Read a novel
- Go to a restaurant for a lovely dinner
- January 20, 2016
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