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After a wonderful journey, you are finally at the last leg of pregnancy and are waiting for your little bundle of joy to arrive. But how would you know if it’s time for your little one to come out?
To help ease some anxiety, we have created a list of what to watch out for during the last trimester that might signal that you are going into true labor!
Signs of Inactive Phase Labor
Loose Joints and Muscles
The hormone “relaxin” is responsible for relaxing all of your muscles in the pelvis and hips. It helps in making the muscles flexible enough to let your baby pass with ease. If your muscles and joints are too relaxed, you may also experience weak knees and your walk may become wobbly.
When your baby is settled into your pelvis and is just waiting for their time to come out, you will feel more pressure on your groin. You will notice it more while walking as if your baby became heavier and your gait will be different. Pelvic pressure can be relieved by resting your back on a pillow or taking a warm bath.
Pressure in the groin may also signify that your baby is slowly going down the levels of the pelvis. Your doctor will tell you which “station” your baby’s head is in and if it requires you to be admitted in the hospital for close observation, nearing closer to your due date.
Aside from loosening your joints and muscles, relaxin also relaxes your rectum and stool. That’s why you may experience loose, watery stools days before you give birth. It is somewhat our body’s way of preparing itself for the upcoming event. Make sure to increase your fluid intake and avoid eating foods rich in fiber and fat as they will induce your diarrhea even more.
Nesting instinct is the urge of pregnant women to organize, clean, and do anything that entails preparing for the arrival of your little one. Aside from cleaning the home, you will find yourself thinking more of how your baby will impact your life and your career. Nesting is a good sign because it means that you are becoming more aware of the change that is coming and you are thinking on how to prepare for the big event.
When your baby is in position and ready to go, your cervix will start to dilate. An internal examination by your obstetrician is how you find out how many centimeters you have dilated. A first-time moms’ cervix dilates at a slower rate than those who are on their 2nd, 3rd and 4th pregnancy.
Signs of Active Phase Labor
Increase in back pain
Back pain is probably not new to you, you have been experiencing it for the last 9 months, little did you know it would get even worse! As your baby descends down the birth canal, it might press on some nerves which could cause back pain. The pain will not be felt only in the back, but it will also radiate in the abdomen.
You might not notice it but the shape of your abdomen might suddenly change. Other people will tell you that the baby has dropped. It means that your baby’s head is settled in your pelvis and just waiting for some final touches before they make their grand entrance to the world.
“Lightening” may also occur. It means that you may breathe easier than before as your lungs are not pushed by your big belly sitting high. The downside though is the pressure is placed on your groin, which means your urine capacity will decrease, requiring you to visit the comfort room often. Even coughing or sneezing might trigger you to pee.
You are nearing your due date and you feel that your contractions are increasing more than usual but you are not sure if what you are experiencing is true labor.
False labor is also called “Braxton Hicks contractions” They are hugely different from true labor as they are characterized by the following: irregular contractions that subside over time, the contractions do not increase in intensity or frequency, the contractions subside when you move around, and pain is in the lower abdomen and not in the back. Take note between the difference of the two as true labor is the one you should be concerned over.
When you experience mild, irregular cramps that become regular and increasing in intensity overtime, it means that you are in active labor. Contractions help you in pushing your baby’s head down into the birth canal. They almost have the same intensity as that of menstrual cramps but are stronger and come in waves. Don’t worry though, there are periods of relaxation in between to help you gain some more courage and energy to push.
The baby inside your tummy is enclosed in a sac called the amniotic sac, which contains fluid. Your baby just floats there inside the sack for the first 9 months and when your due date is nearing, she or he will suddenly position itself in your pelvis waiting to come out.
Water breaks happen when your amniotic sac ruptures because of the strong contractions and because your baby is already descending down on your pelvis. Some mothers thought that they ‘accidentally peed’ when in fact it is the water coming from the sac.
You should pay attention to the color of the water. It should be clear. But if it is brown or dark in color then it indicates and emergancy and you should immediatley call your doctor as it may lead to fetal distress and risk to both the mother and the baby.
Your cervix is closed and plugged with mucus during the whole length of pregnancy to keep you from having a premature delivery. But as you progress towards labor, the mucus plug obstructing it will be dislodged and may look like old blood or pink mucous. As your cervix continues to thin and open, blood vessels break along the way mixing with the mucus that is also called a bloody show.
When to call the doctor?
Call the doctor immediately when you experience any one of the following:
• When your water breaks.
• Heavy vaginal bleeding.
• No baby movements.
• Too much swelling of the face and hands.
• Higher blood pressure than usual.
• Blurred vision.
• Severe headache and dizziness.
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