Recognising early signs of labor is a very exciting time – as you get ready for your baby’s birth (delivery).
I see birth labor as part of your unique sacred journey, a time when life asks you to “step up” – you find a strength you never knew you had, and your reward is the joy of holding your baby – finally the long wait is over!! No matter how many times you see a baby delivery each one is unique – each one is precious.
Early labor signs can include:
- Mucous plug or “show” from the vagina (the mucous plug has been blocking the bottom of the cervix during pregnancy – and as the cervix starts to dilate (open) for the baby to come through – the mucous plug comes away. This thick mucous plug can be brown or pink in color.
- Labor contractions –(cramps in your uterus) – these come at regular intervals, starting about 10 minutes apart – we count from the start of one labor contraction to the start of the next. Labor contractions are painful – and they become increasing strong as you progress with your labor, and come closer together – til your labor contractions are about 2 minutes apart – when you are about to give birth.
- Your membranes could “rupture” – i.e. the waters (amniotic fluid) that has been surrounding your baby – break. You need to let your Doctor/Obstetrician/Midwife know immediately if this happens. Some expecting Mothers confuse this with wetting themselves, but the amniotic fluid doesn’t have the same smell as urine.
The only way to confirm that your labor signs are the real thing – is to have an internal examination which will show that the cervix (mouth of the uterus), is starting to open (dilate).
These early labor signs are called “first stage” – which ends when the cervix is completely open (fully dilated).
If you suspect that you are in labor – contact your Doctor/Obstetrician/Midwife who will tell you what to do, or if you can’t get hold of them, get your hospital bag together, and make your way to the hospital.
You need to let your Health Care Professional know immediately if you have any bleeding.