10 Early Signs of Labor That Tell You the Baby Is Near
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Childbirth is one of the most curious and worried subjects of a woman. Because like every pregnancy, every birth is different and unique. The uncertainty of when and how to start adds to this anxiety. But there are some signs of birth that indicate this miraculous moment is approaching. By following the symptoms, the expectant mother can reduce the possibility of being caught unprepared for the birth.
Let’s examine together the information that can be enlightening about the time of birth for expectant mothers who are excitedly waiting for the birth of their baby.
What are the Onset Symptoms of Birth?
Pregnancy is about nine months and ten days, i.e., 40 weeks. At the end of this period, birth is expected to occur. However, the birth of the baby may occur earlier in some pregnancies and later in others. There may be deviations in the planned date of birth. Therefore, 38-42 weeks of pregnancy. It is best to be prepared between weeks. At this point, the most significant task for the expectant mother will be to understand whether the birth is approaching by following the possible symptoms.
So what are the signs of childbirth?
The main findings that may occur when the moment of birth approaches are as follows;
Descending the Baby into the Birth Canal
A baby whose development is completed in the mother’s womb begins to move from the uterus to the birth canal when the time of birth approaches. This can also be seen from the outside. The mother’s abdomen displays a descending image. (Engagement) It is also observed that the baby’s head enters the birth canal during ultrasound control. In such a case, it can be said that the birth will take place soon. However, this may take a day or two, or it may take a few weeks.
Relaxation in the Lungs
When it comes to the last days of pregnancy, a rapid increase in the baby’s weight begins to be experienced. Usually, 1-2 kilos are gained per month, while a weight gain of 500-1000 grams per week may occur. This puts extra pressure on the mother’s lungs. As the baby changes position and descends into the birth canal, the increased pressure on the lungs decreases. Due to this pressure, pregnant women who have started to experience complaints such as shortness of breath and breathing difficulties in the last few weeks experience relief and can breathe more easily with the occurrence of this situation. For this reason, the decrease in the pressure in the lungs and the feeling of relaxation are accepted as an indication that birth is approaching.
Fullness in the Pelvic Region
Decreased pressure in the lungs results in increased pressure in the pelvic region during pregnancy. Because the baby is now positioned lower, this position causes the expectant mother to feel fullness in her groin and pelvis.
Frequent urination and desire to go to the toilet
As the baby descends into the birth canal, the lungs are relaxed, and the feeling of fullness in the pelvic region will increase, the pressure on the pregnant woman’s bladder will also increase. This pressure creates the urge to urinate and urinate more frequently. If there is a desire to go to the toilet more frequently in the last weeks, it can be said that the birth is close.
Among the most well-known typical birth, symptoms are contractions. These contractions, known as False Contractions or Practice Contractions and Braxton Hicks Contractions, can be seen from the beginning of the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Expectant mothers often confuse these contractions, which can occur in earlier weeks, with real pains.
It increases as the birth approaches, as it prepares the mother for birth. However, if irregular contractions do not get stronger, go away with rest and occur mainly in the anterior part of the abdomen; these are preparatory contractions, not real labor pains.
Opening of the cervix
For the baby to be born normally, the cervix should soften and expand and reach a certain opening. This opening is around 10 cm. The cervix reaches this opening so that the baby’s head can pass. By the end of pregnancy, the cervix begins to dilate gradually. For this reason, doctor’s check-ups have become more frequent in recent weeks and may decrease to once a week or once every three days. In this way, you can have an idea about the time of birth. The state of the opening helps to understand how imminent birth is. In first pregnancies, it may take more time to reach the required opening.
The most effective factor initiating and advancing birth is labor pains. The opening of the cervix and the baby’s progress through the birth canal occur as regular contractions, and contractions of the uterine muscles occur.
- If the pains come regularly and at regular intervals,
- If it comes every 20-30 minutes but becomes more frequent every 3-5 minutes,
- Reminiscent of menstrual cramps if felt in the groin and waist area,
- If it does not pass by resting, sitting, or lying down,
It means that birth is approaching, and it is necessary to apply to a health institution.
Increase in Vaginal Discharge
Just as pregnancy hormones prepare the woman’s body for the healthy development of a baby, as the time of birth approaches, some hormones come into play and begin to prepare the body for this process. The rise in hormone levels can cause an increase in the amount of vaginal discharge often experienced during pregnancy. Experiencing heavy discharge can be considered a sign that delivery is imminent.
Passing Mucus Plug
When pregnancy occurs, the open area of the cervix is covered with a layer of mucus to protect the baby from infections. In this way, the baby is protected from external factors and bacteria. As the birth approaches, due to the softening and enlargement of the cervix, the mucus layer is removed from the body and opens the baby’s passageway. Among the people, this situation is called mucus plug. It is a slightly bloody, pink, red, or colorless and slimy discharge.
The baby is located in the amniotic sac with the amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb. When contractions begin, this sac may burst, and the fluid may drain. Amniotic fluid may come suddenly or drop by drop. When the expectant mother’s water comes, there is not much time left for the birth to occur. Even if the contractions haven’t started, emergency intervention may be needed as the baby is now unprotected.
Pregnancy hormones and other hormones that support childbirth can cause relaxation in the muscles in the body. As birth approaches, both the effect of these hormones and the pressure of the baby on the rectum can cause diarrhea.
The findings mentioned above are among the indications that birth is approaching. However, not every pregnant woman will experience all of these symptoms.
Pregnant women should enjoy the last weeks of pregnancy and avoid the stress of childbirth. Although it differs from person to person, the birth of a baby will occur with some birth symptoms. Mothers should observe these findings and act by contacting the obstetrician when necessary.
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