How do you know it’s childbirth time?
Pregnancy is one of the most life changing experiences for any woman. The feeling of carrying a life inside you is indescribable. For most women, seeing the two lines on a self pregnancy kit gives them immense joy and happiness as they are about to be promoted as mothers. The excitement and jitteriness that pregnancy brings is unequivocal as you are bringing in a new life into this world.
Along with pregnancy, comes childbirth. It is inevitable. Childbirth is the final destination of a successful pregnancy and it is the dawn of a new life. The process itself is a battle between two lives. It is paramount for pregnant women to know the process of childbirth in and out to get a better understanding of the changes that occur in their bodies.
Childbirth, pronounced as labour in medical terms, is a spontaneous process. There will be regular, painful uterine contractions causing progressive cervical effacement and dilatation. This helps in the descent of the fetus which leads to expulsion of the fetus and placenta.
So, how do we know if a woman is in labour or signs of real contraction? Well, if she is screaming due to excruciating pain, then most likely she is in labour. Check immediately if the woman has symptoms of labour. Firstly, there will be strong, painful contractions, with increasing intensity and frequency. It is often preceded by backache. In 10 minutes, there will be four to five contractions, each lasting about 40-45 seconds. It will be regular and continuous in nature. The contractions will start from the back and radiate to the front.
At this point, it is important to differentiate between true labour and false labour. Panicking and rushing to the hospital during false labour would only result in wasted time and efforts. False labour is when one gets Braxton Hicks contraction. This type of contraction pain starts as early as 30 weeks of pregnancy. It is usually painless and does not increase in frequency and intensity. Each contraction only lasts less than 30 secs. It is irregular in nature. The pain is often felt from the front resembling a menstrual cramp.
Apart from that, show is also another symptom of labour. Show is a blood-stained plug of mucus that will be discharged through the vagina. During pregnancy, the cervix is covered with a thick layer of mucus that acts as a barrier to protect the baby from any source of infection. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the cervix begins to dilate to give way for the baby to pass through. Hence, the mucus plug is dislodged when the cervix opens, causing it to be excreted out. Now why is it blood stained? Cervix is a highly vascular organ, therefore, when it stretches open and the mucus plug dislodges, some of the blood vessels will rupture and start to bleed. The mucus plug mixing with blood from the cervix’s blood vessels is what the show is all about.
Thirdly, leaking of liquor is a sign that labour is impending. Liquor is the fluid inside the amniotic sac, commonly known as amniotic fluid. It acts as a cushion and protection for the fetus. The amniotic sac ruptures during the onset of labour. People refer to this as ‘ water bag broke’. Some women will experience a gush of warm fluid while most of them will only feel a slow, constant trickle of fluid from the vagina. It is usually clear and odourless but may contain traces of blood or mucus.
These are the symptoms of labour that one should look out for. Nevertheless, everyone is different. One might get a show a week before labour and another might have it only when they are in labour. It is crucial to look for the other two symptoms as well to consider whether this is a rush-to-the-hospital occurrence. When the going gets tough during the end of pregnancy, it is helpful to know these symptoms of labour as a sign that things are moving along. Keep regular touch with your doctor online. In the end, as Freeman Dyson said, ‘ the pain of childbirth is not remembered, it’s the child that’s remembered’.