How to know if labor has begun

After months of seeing your abdomen grow, of feeling from discomfort to the kicks of the baby, you already want the day of his birth to arrive. You are waiting for the first signs of the beginning of labor.

Although we understand your desperation, you must remain calm. The appearance of the first symptoms does not mean that you are starting labor. There may still be a few days, maybe even weeks.

Symptoms of labor

Below we describe some of the symptoms that you will begin to experience the days before the start of labor. Knowing the signs will help you prepare for the big moment.

However, do not forget what we always say: every labor is different, just like every pregnancy. Then evaluate wisely if what we describe here adjusts to what you are living.

1. Your baby descends

If you are in your first pregnancy, you will notice a few weeks before the beginning of the birth what is known as the embedding. The baby has come down and fits in the pelvis. He is preparing for the birth.

You may notice an increase in weight in the pelvis, but you breathe better, since the pressure your baby exerted on the diaphragm has decreased.

In addition, calls Braxton Hicks contractions (which are short and painless) increase in frequency and intensity. In some cases, they can be relatively painful and occur at irregular intervals. Therefore, it can be thought that labor began, but contractions of labor are not yet.

In addition, the cervix begins to mature by the time of delivery. Some women may experience cramping similar to menstrual cramps.

If you have previously given birth, it is likely that the cervix dilate a centimeter or two before the start of labor. However, if it is your first pregnancy, even being in week 40 and with a centimeter of dilation, there is still no certainty that the start of labor is imminent.

2. You expel the mucous plug

As the cervix begins to thin considerably or dilate, you can expel the mucous plug.

It is a small amount of thick mucous tissue that kept the cervix sealed during pregnancy. You can expel it a few hours or a few weeks before delivery.

Further, It can be lost all at once or as an intense vaginal discharge for several days. This flow can be stained with blood, which turns red, pink or brown. Like the plug, this blood appears a few hours or a few weeks before delivery.

Sexual intercourse or a vaginal touch may encourage the expulsion of the mucous plug and cause a bloody flow, even though it may still be a few days before starting labor.

3. Labor contractions appear

Labor contractions, unlike those of Braxton Hicks, are longer, more intense and more frequent. Its mission is for the cervix to expand.

They are getting stronger, they start to last longer and the frequency increases. The pain starts in the lower back and moves forward.

Labor contractions they usually start before you break sources. That is what happens to most women, but for some it may be the other way around, the source is broken before the contractions begin. Generally, when this happens, labor is quickly triggered.

If after breaking source, labor contractions do not appear in the later hours, it is most likely that have to induce labor. This measure will be necessary because your baby is at risk of infection, not having the protection provided by the amniotic sac.

4. Water breakage

One of the most known symptoms of the onset of labor occurs when the amniotic sac ruptures and the fluid that covers the baby is removed by the vagina. It can happen suddenly or be a slow drip.

Once you see that the fluid starts to come out, labor is about to begin. The fluid protects your baby and leave at risk of complications if the birth does not begin naturally in a short time.

If the fluid is brown or greenish, it indicates the presence of meconium (the first stools of the baby). This can be a sign of fetal distress that you should immediately report to the doctor who treats you.

When should you call your doctor?

In uncomplicated pregnancies, you are likely to be told that Stay home until the contractions last about a minute and occur every five minutes, for at least one hour.

The frequency of contractions is measured from the beginning of one contraction until the beginning of the next. Your doctor will ask you the frequency, duration and intensity of the contractions, including whether you can talk during a contraction.

When water ruptures or labor contractions occur before week 37, it is a premature birth. Other common signs are abdominal pain, unusual vaginal discharge, blood or spots.

Another important fact that you should communicate just notes, is if the baby is less active. Even if you do not perceive it clearly, if you suspect that something is not right, communicate it Your doctor or midwife are ready to answer your questions.