- 1 What are the signs of labor
- 2 Differences between the signs of labor in first or subsequent pregnancies
- 3 The main signs of labor and their manifestations
- 4 The difference between Braxton Hicks and labor contractions in a second pregnancy
- 5 How labor begins in a second pregnancy
- 6 Video about first signs of labor
What are the signs of labor
With the approach of labor, the pregnant woman’s condition is gradually changing. First, it undergoes hormonal changes. Due to the aging of the placenta, the production of the pregnancy hormone progesterone is diminishing. Progesterone has ensured the normal course of pregnancy and preservation of the fetus. Another hormone – estrogen – takes over and starts to rapidly increase, preparing the body for childbirth.
From this moment, the brain receives the signal to start the labor process, and the pregnant woman’s body undergoes changes preparing the birth canal for the birth of a child – these are the precursors of labor.
The body of every woman is unique. Therefore, the signs of impending labor may appear at any time: a few weeks or a couple of days in advance.
Differences between the signs of labor in first or subsequent pregnanciesIn general, the signs of close labor in first and subsequent pregnancies are virtually indistinguishable. The main difference is the intensity and rapidity of symptoms in subsequent pregnancies.
A woman who has previously given birth has an anatomically wider cervical clearance. For this reason, the sensations are more pronounced. In addition, labor activity may begin much earlier than you expect, and this is considered normal.
Cervical dilatation in the second pregnancy takes less time than in the first. This time frame ranges from 3-8 hours, whereas in a first pregnancy, this process can take an average of 12 hours. This is because the muscles are more loose, and therefore require less effort.[attention type=green]In general, the signals of the second and third labor can begin at the same time as in the first pregnancy. However, we must remember that the interval between these symptoms and labor grows shorter, because, as a rule, the labor activity is accelerated. However, if it has been 10 years from the your last labor, then the body and the uterus are fully restored to their original condition – be prepared that current labor will be the same as the first time.[/attention]
The main signs of labor and their manifestations
Whereas in your first pregnancy you didn’t necessarily have to be vigilant with your symptoms, the second time around, you should be on guard.
- The belly drops. A few days before birth, you may notice that the belly has slightly shifted downward. Breathing becomes easier, there is less heartburn and shortness of breath, but sitting and sleeping become more difficult.
- Passage of mucus plug. In a second or subsequent pregnancy, the plug can be discharged just a few hours before giving birth. It is a small cluster of yellowish mucus possibly colored with streaks of blood. It can come out in parts, or whole. In any case, it means that the cervix is beginning to dilate, which is the surest sign of impending labor.
- Changes in the nature of discharge. By the end of pregnancy, the discharges become more abundant and liquid. They are sometimes confused with amniotic fluid. If there are doubts, you should consult your doctor, or simply purchase an amniotic fluid test.
- Weight changes. Shortly before labor a woman begins to lose weight. This is explained by “shedding” of the excess fluid that thickens the blood and increases its coagulation to prevent massive blood loss.
- The change in the baby’s behavior. Just before birth the child may become less active. He is also preparing for his birth.
- Contractions. Here we are talking about regular contractions. Unlike training ones, they are rhythmical, and it is impossible to stop the pain with simple analgesics and antispasmodics. If the contractions are accompanied by discharge, then you will soon become a mother.
- Amniorrhea. Amniotic fluid may either gradually leak or suddenly gush out. In subsequent pregnancies, the water often breaks just before the start of labor, which means that you need to go to the hospital immediately.
The difference between Braxton Hicks and labor contractions in a second pregnancyEven multiparous woman can confuse false contractions with real ones. To avoid confusion and go to the hospital at the right time, here is what you need to know:
- Labor contractions become regular, their duration increases, and the intervals between them reduce.
- The pain increases with each time, whereas in training contractions the sensations are reminiscent of period cramps.
- Cervix dilatation occurs during labor contractions.
How labor begins in a second pregnancy
In and of itself, the onset of second labor is not much different from the first one. Perhaps the only difference between them is that the signals of the onset of labor activity are more pronounces.
Often the labor starts with water breaking. It may begin to leak slightly or drain out voluminously. In the latter case, you need to get to the hospital immediately.[attention type=yellow]If the contractions start first, they increase with high intensity, and pain almost immediately becomes quite unbearable. Do not wait until the interval between contractions is minimal – get to the hospital as soon as possible, since second births are typically quite rapid.[/attention]
Video about first signs of labor
We invite you to watch a video about the first signs of labor.[attention type=yellow]In conclusion, we hope that our article helps you sort through all of the information concerning the signals of labor. Now you know what deserves special attention, if this is not your first time at the maternity ward. If you have any questions, contributions, or maybe you have something to say on this issue to other pregnant women – feel free![/attention]