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Signs of labor: early signs of labour.

Signs of labour consist of clear pre-delivery signs consisting of:

  • Loss of mucous plug;

  • Preparatory or prodromal contractions;

  • Dilation of the cervix;

  • Diarrhea;

  • Backache.

signs of labour

Signs of labor: what are they?

There are some pre-delivery symptoms that the mother's body sends that you should watch out for because they are clear signs that labor could be triggered shortly thereafter.

  • Decreased abdominal distension;

  • Braxton Hicks Preparatory Contractions;

  • Changes in the cervix and dilation of the cervix;

  • Small vaginal discharge and loss of the mucous plug

  • Sudden surge of energy

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea.

A small minority of women report as pre-natal symptoms:

  • Chills;

  • Stinging similar to stomach pain or menstrual pain

  • Leg pain

  • Headache.

First signs of labor: decrease in abdominal distension

During the last weeks of pregnancy the fetus begins to descend to the lower part of the pelvis. As a result of this descent, the whole uterus moves downwards, no longer exerting pressure on the diaphragm and making breathing easier. You will notice this change because you will be able to take deeper breaths as the rib cage can expand more. On the other hand, with the increase in the pressure of the uterus downwards, the following symptoms may be noted before labor:

  • Leg cramps and pains caused by the pressure the uterus exerts on the underlying nerves.

  • Increased urinary frequency as the uterus presses harder on the bladder increasing the urge to urinate.

  • Increased edema and swelling of the lower limbs.

  • Increased vaginal discharge.

Signs of onset of labor: Braxton Hicks preparatory contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular contractions that occur sporadically during pregnancy but are not painful. A sign before labor begins is that the pre-natal contractions begin to be closer together and annoying. The pain of pre-birth contractions seems to be localized in the abdomen and groin, being felt as a sensation of stretching or cramps similar to menstrual pain. When the preparatory contractions are strong and annoying enough, you may think you are in labor but it could also be false labor. False labor should not be a reason for frustration or embarrassment, on the contrary, it is advisable to go to the hospital to dispel any uncertainty by doing a checkup. In general, the best method to understand whether it is labor contractions or Braxton Hicks contractions is to check the time interval between one contraction and the next with a watch in hand. If the interval between contractions is equal to 5 minutes or less and this frequency lasts for at least an hour, it is certainly not a false labor.

Cervical changes and dilation, pre labour symptoms

One of the signs of labor is a change in the cervix. A considerable change occurs in the cervix in the very early period before delivery. At the beginning of pregnancy, the cervix is ​​rigid to keep the fetus protected, in the stages preceding birth the cervix must soften and shorten to allow the baby to dilate and pass into the vagina. The softening of the cervix is ​​called cervical ripening. When the term of pregnancy approaches, the collagen fibers that keep the cervix tightly closed are swept away and therefore the ability of the neck cells to bind to each other is lacking, favoring the increase of the water content in the cells themselves. . All these modifications lead to a weakening and therefore to a softening of the cervix, a sign that precedes childbirth.

Small vaginal discharge and loss of mucous plug among the signs that labor is close

Loss of the mucous plug is one of the symptoms that childbirth is imminent. During pregnancy, vaginal secretions build up to form a barrier called a mucous plug. With the weakening and softening of the cervix, the mucous plug collapses in the vagina and is expelled, in some cases resulting in a small loss of blood from the cervical capillaries involved. Vaginal discharge appears faded pink, in medical jargon the woman is said to be marking, and labor usually starts within a few days or hours. Small pinkish-brown vaginal discharge should not be confused with the consequence of a more in-depth vaginal examination, perhaps with stripping to stimulate labor and are not a warning sign of childbirth. If the leaks are bright red and abundant, go to the hospital as soon as possible for a medical evaluation. For further information: loss of the mucous plug

Sudden spike in energy, pre labor symptoms

Many pregnant women around 24-48 before the onset of labor report a peak of energy, a phenomenon that takes the name of nest syndrome. The nest syndrome generally occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy just close to childbirth and is characterized by the expectant mother to arrange everything in the house, clean, tidy up, tidy up, essentially tidy up the nest and have everything ready and neat for welcome the baby into the house. The cause of a pregnant woman's energy spike is unknown but it can represent a valid symptom especially for people close to the pregnant woman. A sudden change in lifestyle, perhaps from too sedentary to too active, certainly has a very specific cause and represents a bell for the family of the woman about to give birth.

Diarrhea before labor

Diarrhea before childbirth could be confused with an intestinal problem, in reality very often it represents a signal that the birth is imminent.

The cause of pre-birth diarrhea is the release into the maternal body of prostaglandins which serve to modify the cervix before actual labor starts.

Prostaglandins therefore stimulate not only the prodromal phase of labor but also intestinal peristalsis causing diarrhea and frequent bowel movements.

First signs of oncoming labor: nausea

Vomiting and nausea before childbirth are very frequent so much so that there is an ancient saying that says "Woman who vomits gives birth!" Nausea before childbirth is due to several factors:

  • the digestive system is affected by the hormonal changes that precede childbirth;

  • uterine contractions affect the intestine, hindering normal intestinal peristalsis.

In the days or hours before childbirth, episodes of nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite are not uncommon.

Chills of cold

Some women feel weak, cold, and complain of chills before giving birth. Through the thrill the mother's body begins to prepare for labor so that it stays warm and rests to build up strength. It is not uncommon for the sensation of shivering to begin precisely in conjunction with the arrival of the first contractions.

Back pain and leg pain before labor

Locating the exact point of discomfort in the first contractions is not always easy. Preparto pain is characterized by a series of sensations ranging from:

  • pain in the lower back;

  • pangs in the vagina;

  • feeling of heaviness in the legs.

Pain is difficult to explain, so each woman describes it differently; uterine contraction could evoke pain in the lower abdomen, a feeling of compression in the lower back, or a stretching sensation in the abdomen and legs. These are all normal symptoms that indicate that labor is near.

When to go to the hospital

  • When the contractions become regular with 2 contractions every 10 minutes for at least 1 hour;

  • When the membranes rupture;

  • If there is blood loss When you have not perceived the movements of the fetus for several hours;

  • If you don't feel comfortable staying at home.


pocket obstetrician

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