Learn the Signs of Labor

Learn the signs of labor so that you know when to call your doctor and go to the hospital. If you have any signs of labor before 36 weeks or 9 months of pregnancy, call your doctor right away so you have a better chance of a complication free pregnancy.

All women are different and the signs of labor will differ from one to the next. However, it is the most exciting and wondrous miracle of life.

The following are only guidelines so listen to your body and your instincts. If you are in any way doubtful, do not hesitate to call your midwife or doctor.

What Do I Do?
You have taken your antenatal classes and read every book you could get your hands on, yet you're still certain when the time comes you wont be prepared and you'll forget everything that you have been taught in the past six months.  Don’t panic: it will all come back. To help you feel a little bit more relaxed (and a little less surprised), here are some signs that labor may be soon coming:

Weight loss: You may lose between 1-1.5kg in last few days. This is completely normal.
Your baby moves less: As your baby is growing, it is running out of space to move , but you should still feel movement up to 6 times a day. If you don’t feel the baby moving or you are unsure, it is imperative you contact your doctor.
Spring Cleaning: You may get the urge to suddenly want to give everything a thorough clean as the days become nearer to the arrival of your baby.
Diarrhea: You may experience slight diarrhea when starting labor.
Signs of Labor ?
As labor starts, you may not be sure if it is the real thing or if it is just a false alarm. Here are a few signs to look out for when you think you may be in labor:

Show: The mucus plug that protects the baby in the womb comes away. It looks like a lump of clear jelly or liquid with streaks of blood (any heavy bleeding or bright red blood is not normal – contact your midwife or doctor immediately if this happens). Your show may release  a few days before your due date - don’t panic. Wait for other labour signs to occur.
Contractions: You may have been experiencing a tightening of the womb for a few days but now they are more intense and more regular. They should start at about 30-minute intervals and gradually the gap will decrase.
"Waters break": The amniotic fluid in which your baby has been living in for the past nine months has burst or started leaking. You may experience a gush or just a trickle. This fluid has a distinct smell and is usually clear; it is also followed by contractions. When this happens, make sure you get to the hospital or clinic immediately.
When to Go to the Hospital
We never seem to know when it is absolutely necessary to get to the hospital so here are some rules to follow:

Contractions are coming every five minutes or more often.
Your waters have broken
Your previous births were quick
You go into labor before 36 weeks
You start bleeding heavily
The pain is unbearable

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