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Sign of labour & delivery

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Signs of Labor

Towards the end of the third trimester, your body starts to get ready for labour. The womb drops forward, Braxton Hicks contractions increase, you may have a little bleeding and the mucus plug that seals the cervix will be released.

Towards the end of the third trimester you will notice your body getting ready for labour. It will become easier to breathe as the womb drops forwards taking the pressure away from your ribs. You will feel the baby pressing on your pelvis, though! You will probably have been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for several months; these will start to become more intense and you may have difficulty sleeping.

Going into labour

As labour approaches, you may have a little bleeding and the mucus plug that seals the cervix will be released. This is called the show or operculum and is a sign that the cervix is starting to dilate ready for birth. It usually happens a couple of days before the start of labour but it can happen up to 12 days beforehand. You may not even notice the show has occurred.

Sign_of_labourWhen labour starts, your contractions will probably be around 10 minutes apart. Start your relaxation and breathing techniques to help you weather the pain and deal with the stress. Labour pains will become increasingly frequent and when contractions are down to four or five minutes apart, contact the maternity ward or your midwife.

If your waters break before this stage, contact the hospital. If you notice that the water is yellow or brownish rather than clear speak with your midwife or the hospital immediately. Some women experience very distinct signs of labor, while others do not. No one knows what causes labor to start or when it will start, but several hormonal and physical changes may indicate the beginning of labor.

» Lightening
»
Passing of the mucus plug
»
Contractions
»
Water breaking
» Effacement and dilation of the cervix

Lightening During Labor

The process of your baby settling or lowering into your pelvis just before labor is called lightening. Lightening can occur a few weeks or a few hours before labor. Because the uterus rests on the bladder more after lightening, you may feel the need to urinate more frequently.

Passing of the Mucus Plug

The mucus plug accumulates at the cervix during pregnancy. When the cervix begins to open wider, the mucus is discharged into the vagina and may be clear, pink, or slightly bloody. Labor may begin soon after the mucus plug is discharged or one to two weeks later.

Labor Contractions

Sign_of_labour2During contractions, the abdomen becomes hard. Between contractions, the uterus relaxes and the abdomen becomes soft. The way a contraction feels is different for each woman and may feel different from one pregnancy to the next. But, labor contractions usually cause discomfort or a dull ache in your back and lower abdomen, along with pressure in the pelvis. Contractions move in a wave-like motion from the top of the uterus to the bottom. Some women describe contractions as strong menstrual cramps. Unlike false labor contractions or Braxton Hicks contractions -- true labor contractions do not stop when you change your position or relax. Although the contractions may be uncomfortable, you will be able to relax in between contractions.