Early signs of upcoming labor for the first pregnancy
In about the 38th week of pregnancy, the fetus is sufficiently developed and begins his preparation to enter the world.
- The baby’s head drops into the lower part of the uterus. This is visible by the dropped belly of the pregnant woman. She can now breathe much easier than usual, but experiences a heavy sensation in the pelvis.
- Sitting becomes more difficult, and there is increased urinary urge (the child presses on the bladder). There may be frequent bowel movements, because hormonal changes begin to affect the intestines.
- Mood swings are also a consequence of hormonal fluctuation.
- Along with this, fetal activity decreases. With each passing day, the decreased volume of space makes it more challenging for him to move around.
- It is also common for the pregnant woman to lose appetite and lose a lot of weight. The body rids itself of the excess edema that has accumulated during pregnancy.
Training contractions (Braxton hicks)Before labor, every pregnant woman goes through that special period, when the fetus and the woman’s body begin to prepare for the upcoming birth. During this period, you may experience the onset of false contractions (Braxton hicks). This step is very important and necessary. It facilitates the ease of pushing of the fetus out of the uterus and through the birth canal. In addition, training contractions of the uterus saturate the placenta with essential nutrients and oxygen.
Training contractions most often occurs at night. For some women, they are almost imperceptible, and some have no such sensations at all. But do not worry – their presence or absence is not an indicator of prenatal complications.[attention type=green]In nulliparous women, this period often begins 1-2 weeks before delivery. In women how have given birth before, it begins a few days in advance. This difference is due to the readiness of the woman’s body to expel the fetus from the uterus. If the gap between the first and second births is no more than 5 years, the body still “remembers” how and when to start the prenatal process. If the gap is longer- about 7-10 years – then the woman will experience the pregnancy as if it is her first.[/attention]
The difference between training and labor contractions
Identifying training contractions on your own is quite simple. Here are the main features of training contractions:
- Unpleasant short contractions of the abdomen. This is due to changes in the birth canal, including its softening. The uterus periodically contracts and hardens, training to function effectively at the time of delivery.
- Contractions cause discomfort, causing pain and heaviness in the lower abdomen, but there is no sharp pain – this is the key symptom in determining training contractions. If the contractions are relatively bearable, it means that they are “Braxton hicks”. Real prenatal contractions produce sharp pains in the back, pelvis and perineum.
- Pain does not intensify, and completely disappears after a while. If the discomfort subsides, you can safely stay home. Lie down on your back, relax or distract yourself with something interesting. This will help to further reduce the discomfort. Very soon these contractions will subside.
- There is no a clear rhythm to the contractions; they are chaotic. If you do not detect a clear sequence and rhythm of labor, then it’s not yet time for labor, and it’s too early to rush to the hospital. Prenatal contractions always occur at regular intervals. They can not be stopped, no matter what you do.
- The uterus does not dilate. Of course, the dilatation of the uterus can only be determined with the help of a specialist, so it is important to report contractions to your doctor.
In order not to rush to conclusions, remember the key signs of labor contractions – they are very different from training contractions:
- Sharp pain.
- The pain spreads throughout the abdomen and lower back.
- Rhythmic pain.
- The mucus plug is expelled and the water breaks.
- Diarrhea and sometimes vomiting.
- Each contraction is more prolonged.
- Dilatation of the uterus.
- Increasing intensity and shorter intervals of time between contractions (for example, initially every 15 minutes, then 10, then 5).
- Stages of labor contractions.
Despite the fact that labor occurs differently in every woman, there are several common features. First, you feel brief and infrequent contractions. Then, you may notice that the time between contractions has shortened. The pain level of each subsequent contraction increases and lasts longer than the previous one. This is it – it’s show time.You will now pass through the three stages of labor contractions.
- Initial. Its duration varies from 7 to 8 hours, depending on the individual. During this time, the cervix dilates up to 3 cm. Each contraction lasts about 30-45 seconds, with intervals of 5 minutes.
- Active. This stage lasts from 3-5 hours. Dilation of the uterus is up to 7-8 cm. Contractions last about 60 seconds and repeat every 2-4 minutes.
- Transitional. This is the shortest phase. It lasts about 1 hour; the contractions are 70-90 seconds each. The uterus dilates to 8-10 cm.
Video about early labor signs
We invite you to watch a video where a gynecologist discusses the precursors of labor, and how to detect impending labor.[attention type=yellow]Dear future mothers, share your joys, fears and experiences. Experienced women will always come to you with help, teach you how not to worry for no reason, and how to deliver a healthy baby. The personal experiences of other readers will inspire confidence. Everything will work out for the best.[/attention]