Oct 142012

Waiting for Labor to start can cause both excitement and anxiety. Unlike in the movies where it is obvious that a woman is in labor, determining that one is in labor can be difficult.
We have put together the signs of labor to make it easier to identify where you are.

Important to note, not all women go through it this way, some miss out on some of these.

Subtle Signs:
These may occur weeks before the Estimated Date of Delivery. They are as a result of the body preparing itself for labor and delivery.

• Backache: This is usually vague and not related to posture.
• Flu-like feelings: You may sneeze; have a runny nose and sometimes a slight cough. A headache, fatigue and change in bowel movements may happen too.
• Nesting Instinct: For a day or too you have a burst of energy and have lots of activity

Preliminary Signs of Labor:
These signs happen a few days before true labor and are an indicator that true labor is eminent. They may also occur when true labor has started. They do not happen in any order.

• Mucous plug or bloody show: Indicates that the cervix is thinning
• Break of the bag of waters: This is a small break with leaking of fluid with movement
• Contractions. These are mild, short lived and irregular. They keep on this way for a while.

Absolute Signs of Labor:
These are the clear, actual signs that tell you that labor is here.

• Progressive contractions that become regular, stronger, longer and closer.
• Breaking of the bag of waters followed by progressing contraction
• The contractions may be felt on the abdomen, back or both.


When to go to Hospital:
The 5-1-1 rule is a recommended guide as to when to go to hospital. Contractions that are 5 minutes apart, last for 1 min and this goes on for 1 hour. However, consider time of day and the distance to the hospital. If you are having a home birth, your midwife will be in attendance by this time.

Call your Midwife or doctor at any time if you are not sure of what is happening:-)

Lucy Muchiri

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