8 Signs that Labour is Imminent

Many pregnant women worry about missing the early signs of labour and as you near the end of your pregnancy, you may be on the look out for signs that you’re about to meet your baby!

So how can you tell if labour is just around the corner? Here are eight simple signs that you’re going into labour…

1. Nesting

Nesting is the sudden urge to clean and organise and it happens in the third trimester, typically after week 37 but everyone is different. If you’re feeling the need to scrub the skirting boards or wash everything in sight then it could be that you are indeed – nesting!

Remember to nest safely! Stay away from cleaning products that aren’t safe for pregnancy and avoid climbing or lifting anything heavy.

Some safe ideas for nesting are: cleaning out the fridge, cleaning and washing your baby’s clothes, clearing out drawers full of junk or even batch cooking so that when your baby is here, you don’t have to worry about cooking and looking after a newborn.

pregnant_woman_folding_baby_clothes

2. Feeling the baby has dropped (lightening)

‘Lightening’ describes when the baby's head settles deep into your pelvis and it can cause a change in the shape of your bump. You might find it easier to breathe because there’s more room for your lungs but you can also need to wee more often as there is not more pressure on your bladded. It can happen anytime from a few weeks to a few hours before labour begins. Your midwife will be on the look out for your baby dropping into your pelvis and should let you know when it has happened – if you haven’t noticed already!

3. An increase in vaginal mucus

You’ll start to notice the discharge down there gets thicker and heavier as you get closer to labour… this is because your body is getting ready to release the mucus plug as your cervix begins to dilate. The mucus plug exists to keep your baby away from infection during pregnancy, it sits at the top of your cervix and as labour starts, it comes away.

4. The ‘show’ occurs

As mentioned above, the mucus plug sits at the top of your cervix. Having a show is where the mucus plug is released and it happens because your cervix starts to dilate. It could be a pinkish colour because it has specks of blood in it and it may come out as one piece or broken pieces. You may notice it or you may not notice anything.

5. Contractions commence!

You may have been having Braxton Hicks contractions for some time but they are painless tightenings of the uterus. Labour contractions could be irregular at first, and you’re likely to be able to talk through them but you’ll notice they start happening more frequently.

If you’re not yet 37 weeks pregnant and you start having contractions that hurt and are closer together then contact your community midwife or local hospital immediately as you could be in labour.

6. Stomach and lower back pain

You may feel like you’re having strong menstrual cramps or lower abdominal pressure. You can also have pain in your lower back radiating down into the legs. Many women compare labour to having period pains and this is the stage they’re referring to.

pregnant_woman_looking_at_bump_and_drinking_water

7. Diarrhoea and potential vomiting

The less glam side of birth might happen right about now! This happens as your body clears out waste so that it can focus all its energy on birthing your baby instead of digesting food! If this happens, remember to have small but regular snacks to keep your energy levels up!

8. Your MIGHT waters break!

This is absolutely not as theatrical as films and TV make it out to be, and is actually more likely to happen towards the end of the first stage of your labour. Many women think this happens at the start of labour but it can happen early on, during the first stage of labour and some babies are even born in their bag of water!

Remember, everybody and every baby is different, so you might experience all, some or none of these initial warning signals. For more information on preparing for labour, be sure to head to the butterbean platform, where our hypnobirthing courses equips you with the tools you need to feel in control, both physically and mentally.

If you’d like to know more about every stage of labour then check out our blog ‘A Whistle Stop Tour of Birth’.

Am I going into labour? What do I do?

It’s normal to think that when you go into labour that everyone should panic and run out of the house in a total frenzy. We have Hollywood to thank for that one! The truth is that labour is a marathon, not a sprint and the first thing you should do when labour does kick off is to relax as much as possible. This will help your oxytocin levels to rise and will support the progression of labour.

Ideas for staying relaxed: watch a movie! Bake some bread, do a puzzle, go for a walk, listen to hypnosis tracks, sleep! Focus on drawing inward and shut the outside world off… put your phone away… now is the time to focus on you and your baby.

When to go to hospital

If you’re planning a hospital birth then it’s worth knowing that in the UK, hospitals won’t admit you until you’re 4cm dilated which is classed as active labour.

But how will you know you’re 4cm dilated without checking? Well, if you can’t talk through contractions and if your contractions are coming thick and fast then it’s very likely you’re dilated enough to make your way out!

If you’re planning a homebirth then you may want to notify your community midwife when you start having contractions but they should be on their way to your house when you can no longer talk through your contractions.

What is preterm labour?

The majority of babies make an appearance between 37 and 42 weeks. If your baby is born before 37 weeks then they would be classed as preterm.

Can I be in labour and not know it?

The majority of women would have the instinct and know they are in labour. There can be confusion at the very early stages, say if you think you’ve had the show but you’re not sure. My advice is to sit and wait to see what comes next… relax as much as possible and let your body do it’s thing.

Remember – your baby will make their entrance when they are ready!

Head to the butterbean platform to take our online hypnobirthing course that will give you all of the tools and tips you need to have a positive birth experience!

For more free guidance and support follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our YouTube channel!

 

 

guide to hypnobirthing

8 Signs that Labour is Imminent

guide to hypnobirthing

Many pregnant women worry about missing the early signs of labour and as you near the end of your pregnancy, you may be on the look out for signs that you’re about to meet your baby!

So how can you tell if labour is just around the corner? Here are eight simple signs that you’re going into labour…

1. Nesting

Nesting is the sudden urge to clean and organise and it happens in the third trimester, typically after week 37 but everyone is different. If you’re feeling the need to scrub the skirting boards or wash everything in sight then it could be that you are indeed – nesting!

Remember to nest safely! Stay away from cleaning products that aren’t safe for pregnancy and avoid climbing or lifting anything heavy.

Some safe ideas for nesting are: cleaning out the fridge, cleaning and washing your baby’s clothes, clearing out drawers full of junk or even batch cooking so that when your baby is here, you don’t have to worry about cooking and looking after a newborn.

pregnant_woman_folding_baby_clothes

2. Feeling the baby has dropped (lightening)

‘Lightening’ describes when the baby's head settles deep into your pelvis and it can cause a change in the shape of your bump. You might find it easier to breathe because there’s more room for your lungs but you can also need to wee more often as there is not more pressure on your bladded. It can happen anytime from a few weeks to a few hours before labour begins. Your midwife will be on the look out for your baby dropping into your pelvis and should let you know when it has happened – if you haven’t noticed already!

3. An increase in vaginal mucus

You’ll start to notice the discharge down there gets thicker and heavier as you get closer to labour… this is because your body is getting ready to release the mucus plug as your cervix begins to dilate. The mucus plug exists to keep your baby away from infection during pregnancy, it sits at the top of your cervix and as labour starts, it comes away.

4. The ‘show’ occurs

As mentioned above, the mucus plug sits at the top of your cervix. Having a show is where the mucus plug is released and it happens because your cervix starts to dilate. It could be a pinkish colour because it has specks of blood in it and it may come out as one piece or broken pieces. You may notice it or you may not notice anything.

5. Contractions commence!

You may have been having Braxton Hicks contractions for some time but they are painless tightenings of the uterus. Labour contractions could be irregular at first, and you’re likely to be able to talk through them but you’ll notice they start happening more frequently.

If you’re not yet 37 weeks pregnant and you start having contractions that hurt and are closer together then contact your community midwife or local hospital immediately as you could be in labour.

6. Stomach and lower back pain

You may feel like you’re having strong menstrual cramps or lower abdominal pressure. You can also have pain in your lower back radiating down into the legs. Many women compare labour to having period pains and this is the stage they’re referring to.

pregnant_woman_looking_at_bump_and_drinking_water

7. Diarrhoea and potential vomiting

The less glam side of birth might happen right about now! This happens as your body clears out waste so that it can focus all its energy on birthing your baby instead of digesting food! If this happens, remember to have small but regular snacks to keep your energy levels up!

8. Your MIGHT waters break!

This is absolutely not as theatrical as films and TV make it out to be, and is actually more likely to happen towards the end of the first stage of your labour. Many women think this happens at the start of labour but it can happen early on, during the first stage of labour and some babies are even born in their bag of water!

Remember, everybody and every baby is different, so you might experience all, some or none of these initial warning signals. For more information on preparing for labour, be sure to head to the butterbean platform, where our hypnobirthing courses equips you with the tools you need to feel in control, both physically and mentally.

If you’d like to know more about every stage of labour then check out our blog ‘A Whistle Stop Tour of Birth’.

Am I going into labour? What do I do?

It’s normal to think that when you go into labour that everyone should panic and run out of the house in a total frenzy. We have Hollywood to thank for that one! The truth is that labour is a marathon, not a sprint and the first thing you should do when labour does kick off is to relax as much as possible. This will help your oxytocin levels to rise and will support the progression of labour.

Ideas for staying relaxed: watch a movie! Bake some bread, do a puzzle, go for a walk, listen to hypnosis tracks, sleep! Focus on drawing inward and shut the outside world off… put your phone away… now is the time to focus on you and your baby.

When to go to hospital

If you’re planning a hospital birth then it’s worth knowing that in the UK, hospitals won’t admit you until you’re 4cm dilated which is classed as active labour.

But how will you know you’re 4cm dilated without checking? Well, if you can’t talk through contractions and if your contractions are coming thick and fast then it’s very likely you’re dilated enough to make your way out!

If you’re planning a homebirth then you may want to notify your community midwife when you start having contractions but they should be on their way to your house when you can no longer talk through your contractions.

What is preterm labour?

The majority of babies make an appearance between 37 and 42 weeks. If your baby is born before 37 weeks then they would be classed as preterm.

Can I be in labour and not know it?

The majority of women would have the instinct and know they are in labour. There can be confusion at the very early stages, say if you think you’ve had the show but you’re not sure. My advice is to sit and wait to see what comes next… relax as much as possible and let your body do it’s thing.

Remember – your baby will make their entrance when they are ready!

Head to the butterbean platform to take our online hypnobirthing course that will give you all of the tools and tips you need to have a positive birth experience!

For more free guidance and support follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our YouTube channel!