As delivery date nears, it is important to know what will happen during labour to identify the real signs from false labour symptoms. The early signs differ for each individual depending on their body and health conditions.
Some of the common early signs of labour are as follows:
- Weeks before labour, your baby drops. In other words, the baby will descend into the pelvis which is common as the baby prepares for delivery.
- You may experience constant back and abdominal pain like menstrual cramps. Your muscles might get stretched in preparation for labour.
- The cervix begins to dilate and efface days before labour. This opening and thinning of the cervix can be tracked in weekly checkup.
- Most pregnant women feel tired and exhausted as labour nears. You may feel more pressure in your bladder and difficulty in sleeping. Some may even experience diarrhea and stop gaining weight.
- Few hours before labour, the vaginal discharge tends to change in consistency and colour. It becomes thickened and pinkish, often termed as bloody show which is one of the good signs of labour.
- Strong and more frequent contractions are another good indicator of labour. This should not be confused with Braxton-Hicks contractions which are the false contractions you may be experiencing for weeks. The labour contractions get stronger and do not go away. The pain begins from the lower back and moves to the lower abdomen.
- Your water breaks only when you are nearing labour. Your baby will float and grow in the amniotic sac containing the amniotic fluid which breaks and the fluid drains out. This is called the ‘waters breaking’ and sometimes, it is hard to differentiate amniotic fluid from urine.
It is crucial to have regular doctor appointments in the last few weeks of pregnancy and advisable to inform the OB-GYN if you experience contractions or water breaking.