Is the baby coming? Here are 7 signs you are ready for labour
Article by Cherlynn Ng
Childbirth is unpredictable — but that’s what also makes it so special and beautiful. While all mothers are mindful of their delivery date, the reality is that babies often do not arrive on the dot. So how do you know when your little one is en route? Well, your body is a wealth of clues. Here are seven signs of your newborn’s impending arrival to look out for!
1. The baby drops
You might feel your foetus descending into a lower position in the pelvis anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks before labour, especially if you are a first-time mum. This is known as ‘lightening’, when your baby starts getting into a head-down position in preparation for birth.
You might find yourself making more frequent trips to the bathroom due to the added pressure on your pelvis and bladder. Some mums have reported releasing a squirt of pee with just a cough and sneeze during this stage. On the bright side, your baby’s descent will reduce the pressure on your diaphragm and make it easier for you to breathe. You may also walk with a waddle while your belly appears lower and more protruding.
2. No more weight gain
Your weight will begin to taper off or hit a plateau as your foetus reaches full development inside you. Don’t be surprised if you experience weight loss towards the end of the pregnancy too due to lower levels of amniotic fluids or frequent toilet breaks in anticipation of your angel’s arrival. You might also experience a sudden burst of energy despite being in the later stages of pregnancy. This is known as a ‘nesting instinct’ where you feel a strong desire to cook, clean, and get the house organised before the baby comes.
3. Lower back and groin pain
You might also start feeling pain in your back, pelvic and rectal areas. The level of discomfort varies according to each individual but again, this is all part of our body intuitively stretching and working the relevant muscles and joints to prepare for your darling’s grand entrance.
Don’t panic if you find yourself having loose stools or being unable to control your bowels — this is another sign of labour that women sometimes experience as your rectum muscles and ligaments around the pelvis ease up. Take it as nature working its magic and opening up a passageway for an easier journey into the world.
5. Bloody vaginal discharge
Noticed an increase in vaginal discharge that’s pink, brown or slightly bloody in the days before delivery? There’s nothing to be alarmed about. Known as a ‘bloody show’, the discharge is caused by the release of a mucous plug that blocks the cervix during pregnancy. The mucous plug loosens up as the cervix begins to dilate during the first stage of labour.
6. Strong contractions
Contractions are the squeezing of the muscles that gradually build up in intensity. Think about menstrual cramps in your lower abdomen area or the urge to poop — but on a more severe level. When labour nears, these uterine contractions start to move your baby down into a lower position in the birth canal and ultimately help to push your child out into the world.
7. Your water breaks
As some put it, this is akin to having a flood of fluid involuntarily gushing out of your vagina. Your foetus has been growing in a uterus surrounded by amniotic fluid but this protective sac has now raptured, marking the upcoming exit of your baby. Don’t confuse it with leaking urine, which is a common symptom during pregnancy. Your water breaking is the final and surest sign that you are in labour. Congrats!
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