Your hospital bag is packed, nursery painted, changing tables and cribs assembled, the only thing missing – your baby.
Maybe you now have read all the books about parenting and motherhood or have even bookmarked many articles about babies as a past time, but to be fully prepared, it is best to know when you are going to labor.
Your due date is just an approximation but in reality, most women go into labor between 37 to 42 weeks of pregnancy – with this time frame, babies are surely pleasant surprises.
For first-time mothers, even those who have been through this once or even many times, going into labor is a roller coaster ride of panic and elation, fear and excitement, and pain and joy.
Of course, no pregnancy has the same process of giving birth – some babies get out as quick as a sneeze, while some mothers wait for hours while laboring – nevertheless, signs of labor are almost the same for everyone. Here are some things to watch out for:
Dizziness and Diarrhea
Prior to your actual “Labor Day,” you will feel something very familiar to you – nausea. Remember the early days of your pregnancy, when everything makes you feel sick and dizzy?
Well, it will have a sequel during your final trimester with a special guest: diarrhea. Aside from being one of the signs to look out for, sickness makes a comeback since your baby is growing and has occupied the gastrointestinal tract.
Diarrhea occurs because the muscles around your uterus, which also includes the rectal area, are preparing for the most-awaited day and they start to loosen as well.
Too Much Napping or Too Much Energy
There will also be times when you just want to nap or do the opposite – have all the energy you had reserved throughout your pregnancy.
Well, if you’re on the latter, just make sure to not bombard yourself with too many activities because remember, you need all the energy you can for the main event.
This happens because as your baby’s birthday dawns, your little one starts to descend into your pelvis and gets himself ready.
This is also why your trips to the toilet are getting more frequent because he has also been pushing down your bladder, which is also better for your lungs since he has gone further down from them, making you breathe easier.
Cramps and Pains
With a baby inside you ready to come out any day now, your body is also preparing itself for the grand coming out of your child.
As preparation, the muscles and joints in your body stretch causing pain on your lower back and cramps on the groins and lower stomach. Lower backaches can also be felt during contraction and get worse in between contractions.
Secretions are normal during the final trimester of your pregnancy because as your due date gets nearer, the mucus plug, a membrane with thick viscosity resembling a mucus that is plugging your cervix and protecting it from infections, is secreted either little by little or as a whole out of your body.
With the release of your mucus plug, it doesn’t mean that you will have your baby immediately after, this is just one of the preparations of your body before your labor.
Sometimes, even after this, expectant mothers still wait for weeks until their cervix has eventually dilated.
After your mucus plug was excreted, some of the blood vessels surrounding it may be disrupted causing blood discharge or “bloody show.”
This may mean that you can be in labor any minute now or up to two weeks. If the blood discharge flows like your period, you should contact your doctor immediately.
This one is the most usual scene we always see in the movies, but actually not all pregnant women experience water breaking, only a fraction. This is also one of the last symptoms you’ll feel before coming into labor.
When your water breaks, it will feel like you’re peeing but if you press the muscles on your pelvic area and still keeps on flowing, then your amniotic sac has ruptured.
Contractions and Pressures
When your contractions are getting more consistent and are as painful or worse than your menstrual cramp, then it’s almost time.
But first, observe if the pain has a pattern – if the pain becomes gradually worse or if it also comes in more often at regular intervals.
You might also feel like you want to go number 2 which is due to the pressure around the pelvic and rectal area, meaning you’re now nearing to meet your new baby.