Hi girls, noticed a fair few threads about early labour signs and found this online, hope it helps!
Early Warning Signs For Labour
It’s not like it is in the movies. When a woman goes into labour, there is rarely a gush of fluid and then a mind-blowing cramp that doubles her over in screaming agony that must be answered with a panicked rush to the hospital. No, the onset of labour is a surprisingly gradual thing and a woman in tune with her body will see the warning signs long before contractions make her growl.
When any of the following happen, a woman can be sure that labour is on it’s way. It may take a few hours or a few days, but it’s happening. All she should do is make sure her hospital bag is packed, have a bite to eat and get some sleep - things are about to get very busy!
Before contractions start, many women will develop a backache. This isn’t the same soreness many women get from carrying their baby around up front. No, this is a deep ache that will happen in the lower back from the hips to the top of the pelvic bones. It won’t feel like pain, but it will feel annoying and inescapable: position changes will not remedy this type of back ache.
When a baby has “dropped”, usually a few weeks before birth for first-time mums and a few days or hours before birth for more experienced mums, it puts pressure on the pelvis. This is one reason for some of the backache, but mainly the backache is due to actual contractions. Of course, the contractions are so mild that most women would never feel them. But, they do show up as a persistent dull lower back ache. Non-pregnant women will also feel this at the onset of menstrution and throughout their period.
Menstruation is a good analogy for the feelings a women gets before labour begins. Just as with menstruation, the cervix needs to open (though just a tiny bit) and the uterus must provide gentle crontractions to move the menstrual blood out of the body. If a woman feels “period cramps” near the end of her pergnancy, it’s a very good sign that her body is about to go into labour.
This is one of the least pleasant sign that labour is approaching. In order to ensure that there is maximum room for a baby to pass out of the uterus and through the birth canal, a woman’s body evacuates her bowels before labour happens.
If a pregnant woman finds that she is suddenly experiencing loose stools and multiple trips to the bathroom, that is her body’s way of saying, “you’re baby will be arriving soon.” Mums should keep well hydrated and continue eating to sate their hunger. Women with constipation problems may find that their body goes through a couples days worth of diarrhea, often spaced a few days or weeks apart, to help ensure the body voids as much stool as possible. Sometimes the contractions of the bowels required to move the stool out of the body can be mistaken for labour. Women should always keep calm when they experience this and call their healthcare provider or their doula for assurance.
It sound almost comical: a woman approaching labour gets a sudden insatiable urge to tackle a big homemaking project. It is true, though. Women nearing labour often get an urge to clean, decorate or organize. I, myself, wound up on the bathroom floor scrubbing a dirty shower stall at 2am while my husband pleaded with me to go to bed and rest. I gave birth two days later.
The important thing to remember is to keep it simple and light. Women shouldn’t be doing hard labour, hauling heavy objects or climbing ladders in their last trimester. The urge to nest is a primal urge to make sure there is a safe place for baby to be after birth, so don’t ignore it, but don’t overdo it either. Partners will usually be happy to do the harder jobs for their pregnant wives and girlfriends.
Shivering or Trembling
Some women, without being cold or physically exhausted, may experience shivering or trembling before labour begins. Changes in the hormones responsible for helping to trigger labour may cause shaking. If the shaking is disconcerting, a woman can call her healthcare provider or her doula for guidance.
If a woman recognizes any of these very early labour symptoms, she should first make sure she is ready for labour to begin. Is she rested? Has she made arrangements for pets or other children? Is the hospital bag packed or are all the supplies for a homebirth ready? Is she hydrated and has she eaten? Are the baby supplies available for when baby arrives? Is the carseat installed in the car?
This is the time to make sure all the last minute preparations are made. This is not the time to panic. Some women will want to talk with their healthcare providers, but they don’t need to unless they want assurance on specific issues. Women should definitely call or email their doulas to let them know that things are slowly beginning to happen. This is not a sign that labour has officially begun, but it is a sign that labour will begin very soon.
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