Labor is a unique, exciting, and somehow a terrifying experience for most pregnant women. Sometimes, it is over in a matter of hours. While in some cases, labor test’s a mother’s physical and emotional endurance.
You won’t know how labor and childbirth may unfold until it begins. However, you can prepare by understanding and knowing the sequence of to-dos during this event.
For many pregnant moms, having a partner with them is the most important thing, from pregnancy through labor. No other people can replace the love and support that their partners will provide.
You may talk over with your husband what kind of labor support you feel comfortable accepting.
To know more regarding your labor, we will talk about the signs and how to take care of these signs in this most awaited moment of every soon-to-be mother’s life.
Silent labor signs and what to do
There could be labor signs that are silent and might signal that labor may be starting. Watch out for these silent labor signs if you are drawing near your scheduled date of giving birth. These include:
- You can feel contractions or tighten
- There might be a “show”, or when the plug of mucus from your cervix (entrance of your womb or uterus) comes away
- there are mild back aches
- Often having an urge to go to the bathroom, which might be caused by your baby’s head pressing onto your bowel
- your waters breaking
The early (latency) stage of labor may take some time.
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Early signs of labor
The early labor, also called latency labor, is the earliest part of the stage of labor. It is characterized by mild but consistent contractions. And, unlike Braxton Hicks contraction, continue to develop closer together and stronger each time.
Early labor is often the longest part of labor, sometimes, lasting for days. Contractions can be infrequent at first and be up to 20 minutes apart. Since early labor may be very long, relaxation and distraction can be important aids during this period.
Signs that labor is coming soon
You need to contact your midwifery team if you have these early signs of labor:
- you have regular contractions and you are having about 3 in every 10 minutes period
- your waters break
- you have very strong contractions and you feel the need for pain relief
- you are very worried and too anxious about anything
If you go into the hospital or your midwifery care unit before having established labor, they might recommend that you go home again, for a while.
What to do when signs that labor is coming soon presents
Once your labor has commenced, your midwife may check on you every time to see how you are progressing. They will also offer you support, including pain relief, if necessary to do so.
You can either walk around or get into a position that makes you feel comfortable doing the labor.
Additionally, your midwife may offer you regular vaginal checkups to observe how your labor is progressing. If you wish not to have these examinations, you do not have to. To be fair, your midwife will discuss the importance of these checkups to you.
Also, during the latent phase, it is a good idea that you have something to eat and drink. You will need the energy from what you ate and drank for the upcoming established labor.
Your labor is coming soon if:
- Your baby drops or moves lower into your pelvis.
- You have an increase in vaginal discharge that is clear, pinkish, or slightly bloody.
- At a parental check-up, your health care unit tells you that your cervix began to thin and dilate.
- You may have the nesting instinct.
Signs of true labor and what to do
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Your cervix needs to open about 4 to 10 cm for your baby to get through it. This is the phase of what we call being fully diluted. This is also the part where you might have established labour.
In the 1st hour of labour, the time from the commencement of established labour to being fully diluted is usually 8 to 12 hours. It is often quicker, at around 5 hours, in your future 2nd or 3rd pregnancy.
When you reach the end of the 1st stage of your labour, you will feel an urge to push.
What are the signs of true labor?
The signs of true labor include the following:
- You can feel the muscles tighten up and then, relax. These real contractions may start regularly and then, gets stronger. Since these contractions will last from 30 to 70 seconds and come in waves at about 5 to 10 minutes apart. They will be very strong that you can’t walk or talk during the occurrence. As your delivery draws closer, they will get stronger and the time will be closer together until total delivery.
- You may feel pain in your belly and lower back. There is not much if anything that might reduce this pain, even at any position.
- Your mucus changes to brownish or reddish discharge, or what they call “the bloody show”.
- Your waters breaking. This is the amniotic fluid where your baby grew inside your womb. Or, it is a “bag of water” in your uterus. When this bag breaks, there might be a big rush of water, or sometimes it may just be a trickle.
No matter what time, day or night, if you think and feel you are in labour, call your health care provider instantly. They can help you assess the situation and tell if it’s time now to head for the hospital.
To determine if it is true labour, your health care unit will measure your cervix.
Signs of preterm labor and what to do
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Preterm labor is considered preterm when labour begins before the full gestation weeks or by week 37 of pregnancy. Premature or preterm babies are at risk for any health products at birth and even later in life.
If you have signs of preterm labor or labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy, call your health care unit to get help immediately. It is also important to learn about the risks of preterm labor and how you may take preventive steps to reduce that risk.
Signs of preterm labor
If you have any signs or symptoms before your 37th week of pregnancy, you might be experiencing preterm labour. These are the following signs that you may have preterm labour:
- Change in your vaginal discharge (could be watery, mucus, or bloody) or having an increase in vaginal discharge than usual
- Pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, like your baby, is pushing down
- Constant low or dull backache
- Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
- Regular or frequent contractions that make your belly become tighter, like a fist
- Your water breaks
What to do during preterm labor
If you think you have at least one of the signs of preterm labor, call your health care provider as soon as possible. If you have preterm labor, getting help is the best thing you can do.
When you see your care unit, they might ask you to have a pelvic test or a transvaginal ultrasound to see if your cervix has started to thin and open.
Also, a transvaginal ultrasound scans from the inside of your vagina instead of on the outside of your lower belly. Like a regular ultrasound, it uses sound waves and a computer to project a picture of your baby inside.
Additionally, if you are having preterm labour, your doctor may give you treatment to help stop it or to optimize your baby’s health. Talk to your health care unit for the treatment that is appropriate for you.
It is always important to look out for different signs before the start of your labor. Essentially, it is also needed to know what to do when having these signs and symptoms, and to always ask for guidance from your trusted doctor.
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