Harbingers of childbirth
The most worrying question for any pregnant woman – how do I know that labor is starting and when should I go to the Maternity department?
We have made a brief overview of the signs that can be a guide for you in the last days and hours of pregnancy, so that you can prepare without worry for the most important moment – the meeting with your long-expected child.
The harbingers of childbirth are signs that labour will soon begin, but do not mean the start of labour yet:
- Preparatory contractions:begin about 5-6 weeks before birth. They are painless and irregular. Preparatory contractions may occur every 7-10 minutes (sometimes every 4-5) and last 2-3 hours, then subside. They are not of systemic nature, and they are rarely accompanied by pain in the lower back and low abdomen.
- Abdominal cramping:2-4 weeks before birth, the baby takes a “pre-term” position. You will feel relief in breathing and feeding, tension in the lower abdomen when walking, tension on the pelvic bones and pelvic floor.
- Loss of appetite:about 1-2 weeks before delivery, most pronounced just before delivery.
- Nesting syndrome: unexpected burst of energy and a desire to have your home and everything for baby in perfect shape before you are admitted to the hospital.
- Slippery stopper: the so-called ‘dropping of the plug’ is not a sure sign of labor starting, but it’s a good idea to notify the physician assisting your birth of it. The physician may wish to examine you.
- Frequent trips to the toilet: the baby presses the bladder with each contraction, physiologically loosening about 24 hours before birth.
When to go to the hospital?
In the presence of one or more of these signs, labour is likely to begin. You have plenty of time to take a shower, get ready and calmly go to the hospital.
- Vaginal mucoid-bloody discharge;
- Amniotic fluid leakage;
- Rhythmic contractions: contractions that do not disappear after rest or after the administration of a medication to suppress them, gradually shortening the interval between them and increasing the duration, strength and intensity of the sensations. In case of first labor and the existence of rhythmic contractions every fifth minute (three contractions in 15 minutes) lasting about 40 seconds, lasting more than an hour, it is time to go to the hospital. For second and subsequent births, it is advisable to leave earlier.
When do I urgently need to go to the hospital?
Each of the conditions listed here requires you to go to the hospital immediately:
- Bleeding: bright red, saturated blood – urgent admission to hospital is required to clarify the origin of the bleeding, if possible you should be transported in a supine position. Pay attention to your baby’s movements in your womb and remember their specifics to report to the hospital team.
- Acute sudden abdominal pain: note the baby’s movements and watch for the presence of uterine contractions). If the pain passes quickly and the baby’s movements are normal, then consult your supervising physician. In case of prolonged, non-passing pain or change in the baby’s movements (too violent, absent) – clarify the origin of the pain if possible in a hospital facility.
- A sharp spike in blood pressure: requires consultation with a physician and treatment to keep blood pressure within normal limits.