For first-time mums, the thought of giving birth can bring about a whole frenzy of emotions and feelings. Many women worry about what labour will feel like, and others wonder how they will be able to tell if the labour is real or a false alarm.
Luckily for all the first-time mums out there, we have put together a list of signs of labour which signify that your baby is well and truly on the way.
There are a number of signs that the baby is almost here, which occur at any time between an hour and one month before labour takes place. These signs include:
Your baby drops: If you are giving birth for the very first time, your baby will most likely drop into your pelvis a few weeks before labour begins as they prepare to exit. Your baby dropping will give the sensation that you are waddling more and may cause you to take more frequent trips to the bathroom.
Dilated Cervix: The cervix will start to dilate and efface in the days and weeks leading up to labour, meaning it is opening and thinning out, as it prepares for birth.
Cramps and pain: Cramps and pain in the lower back is a sign your baby is almost ready for arrival. This is due to the muscles stretching significantly in preparation for birth. This symptom is especially true for mothers that have given birth before.
Loose joints: Throughout your pregnancy, the hormone relaxin will make ligaments loosen up. Before labour, many women notice that the joints all over their body seem loose and more relaxed. This is to help the pelvis in opening up and giving birth.
Diarrhoea: As other muscles start to loosen, so too does the rectum, which can lead to diarrhoea. Even though this symptom isn’t too pleasant, it is a good sign that your baby is coming soon.
You stop gaining weight: Weight gain will often level off at the very end of pregnancy, with some women even experiencing weight loss. This is due to lower levels of amniotic fluid, more frequent bathroom breaks.
Fatigue or increased energy: A growing belly, as well as increasing pressure on your bladder, will naturally make you feel more tired as time goes on. However, for some mums, they experience a surge in energy and an overwhelming urge to clean, organise and nest for their new baby.
In the days and hours before labour begins, there are a number of signs that your baby is super close to arrival. They include:
Loss of mucous plug and change in vaginal discharge: Many women will notice the loss of their mucous plug. This is the cork sealing off your uterus. Vaginal discharge may also increase in quantity and thickness as well as a change to pink or lightly bloody in colour.
Stronger, more frequent contractions: Real contractions will become stronger, more painful and more frequent. However, it is important that women can differentiate between real labour contractions and Braxton Hicks contractions.
Your water breaks: Water breaking is one of the final signs that labour is about to commence. However only 15% of women will experience their water breaking.
Dr Bevan Brown is one of the most trusted obstetricians in Sydney and will give you complete and compassionate care in every way possible. If you have any questions regarding caesarean sections or would like to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to get in touch.