Only a few more weeks, a few more days, before the birth of Baby; Soon, our body will send you signals to warn us of his arrival. Some indications for a serene departure to the maternity.
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Recognizing the signs of labor
Unless it’s scheduled, it’s hard to know “when” precisely the birth will take place. One thing is for sure; your baby won’t show up unexpectedly! And you will have time to get to the maternity ward. The average delivery time is 8 to 10 hours for a first child, a little less for subsequent children. So you have time to see what’s coming. Some mothers tell you that they felt exhausted and nauseous on D-day, that their mood was completely changed. Others, on the other hand, remember suddenly feeling very good and going into a tidying frenzy. Listen to your body. In addition to these subjective signs, there are much more concrete symptoms that should alert you.
The first contractions
You have probably already felt slight contractions during your pregnancy. The contractions on the big day will be characterized by their frequency and intensity – you can’t miss them! At the beginning of labor, they occur every half hour and are similar to menstrual pains. Don’t rush to the maternity ward straight away, as you could be sent home. The contractions will gradually get closer. When they occur every 5 minutes or so, you still have 2 hours to go if it is your first birth. If you have already given birth to a child, it is advisable to leave the house after an hour, as a second birth is often faster.
False labor: during the 9th month, you may feel painful contractions even though the birth has not started. This is called “false labor.” Most of the time, the contractions do not become more intense or regular and disappear quickly, either naturally or after taking an anti-spasmodic medication (Spasfon).
The loss of water
The rupture of the water bag is manifested by the sudden (but painless) loss of a transparent liquid, the amniotic fluid. Generally, it does not go unnoticed; you may even be surprised by the quantity! From this moment on, your baby is not safe from infection. Put on periodical protection or a clean cloth, and rush to the maternity hospital, even if you do not feel the contractions yet. Labor usually begins naturally a few hours after your water breaks. If it does not start within 6 to 12 hours or if the slightest abnormality is noted, the decision will be taken to induce labor. Sometimes, the water only breaks. In this case, you will only notice a slight discharge, which many people confuse with the mucous plug or urine leakage loss. In case of doubt, go to the maternity hospital anyway to find out what is going on. Note: the pouch can remain intact until birth. Baby will be born, as we say, “capped.” If your contractions are getting closer, you should leave even if your water has not broken.
Loss of the mucus plug
The mucus plug, as its name suggests, “plugs” the cervix throughout the pregnancy and thus protects the fetus from the risk of infection. Its expulsion means that the cervix is beginning to change. But be patient; it may take several more days until delivery. In the meantime, the baby remains protected in the water bag. The loss of the mucous plug generally results in thick, mucusy secretions, sometimes tinged with blood. Some women don’t even notice it!
It can be tricky to decide when to head to the hospital for labor, especially if you’re not sure that you are in labor. Usually, the signs of labor are much subtle and gradual.
If you’re feeling contractions, but they’re not strong and lengthy yet, you might be experiencing the early phase of labor. Resting and letting your body progress at home may help you.