Medical science has not been able to come up with any techniques which may be able to pinpoint the exact time of the arrival of the baby. According to surveys, about 95% cases of childbirth occur 2 weeks before or later than the due date of delivery. Some women experience labor pain suddenly with a fast progressing pace while others may experience the pain for several hours to days. However, in some cases labor signs may be subtle and tend to get missed out by most mothers. Therefore, following description will help you know about the symptoms and prepare yourself before time.
Symptoms that Accompany Labor Pain
Some expecting mothers experience what is known as Braxton Hicks contractions, which is an episode of tightening of the uterine muscles for one to two hours. This condition is thought to prepare mothers for the actual labor and delivery. These, also known as practice contractions, start getting intense and painful as a woman nears her later stage of pregnancy. The pain radiates from the lower back to the stomach, pelvis, and legs. So, if these contractions occur more frequently and last for more than 40 seconds, then it is time to call for medical help.
The next sign of nearing of labor is the feeling of lightening of the baby. During this time, the baby begins dropping until its head fully descends into the pelvis. This happens due to the softening of the cervix. A mother who might have carried her baby a bit high may notice a gap between her breasts and abdomen. While, one who might have carried her baby a little low, may not spot this symptom readily. So, this phase gives rise to symptoms such as increased heaviness or pressure in the pelvis, frequent urination, difficult bowel movements, and swelling of legs and feet.
Breaking of water is known to occur in about 15% of expecting mothers and is not always indicative of labor. Throughout pregnancy the baby grows and develops in a sac of amniotic fluid (the serous fluid in which the embryo is suspended inside the amnion). This very sac can break causing a flow of a small amount or gush of water out. This water or fluid must be clear, and if not, then this might indicate that the baby is in distress.
While the baby is growing inside the womb, there is a formation of a plug of mucus at the neck of the cervix sealing the uterus. This is to prevent any kind of bacterial infection of the womb. As the cervix undergoes dilation and softening, this mucus plug may be dropped out of the uterus. This incident is known as 'show'. Now, the dilation of the cervix causes blood vessels to break, and this may tinge the mucous plug pink or red. So, when the 'show' occurs and the plug appears pinkish-red, it is known as a 'bloody show'. This episode may take place about 3 weeks or even few hours before actual labor, and it is one of the reliable indicators of arrival of the baby.
Nearing pregnancy gives most women a rush of energy or restlessness. It is typical for many women to be found engaging themselves in a number of activities which they usually won't. This sudden rush of energy signals the end of pregnancy, and it is known as the 'nesting effect'. So, when one feels like working more than normal, it is wise to start preparing for labor.
To conclude, among all other symptoms, ones which may be regarded as a sure sign that the labor has begun are contractions. If you notice that the contractions last for a minute and have been occurring every five minutes for the last one hour, then it is certain that you are in labor. The next thing to do is to call for medical help to make your way to the hospital.
For many women, labor pain may turn out to be a false alarm and then it may get really frustrating. But, you may never know. So, don't take chances, and always be ready to inform your doctor about any abnormal symptoms. After all, every mother wants her baby to make a safe and secure landing into this world.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.