How To Prepare For Labor
There are some things you’ll need to do to in order to be prepared for giving birth. Get your bag ready early – It’s a good idea to pack your bag about a month before your estimated due date. This way you’ll be prepared in case you need to rush to the hospital. No one can accurately predict the exact date and time of your delivery, so it’s better to be ready for when labor starts.
It’s wise to make a checklist that includes everything you’ll need. Some women like to take their make up bag with them, some women want to take a book with them, but there are some things that are absolutely necessary. A couple of nightgowns, a hairbrush, a toothbrush and a comfortable outfit to wear when you get back home are some of these things.
Make a list of phone numbers – It is smart to make a list of the phone numbers of those people you can call anytime. Sort the numbers buy priority, so you can instantly look at the top of the list and call that person whenever labor signs start.
Which Signs Are Labor Signs?
- Lightening (also known as engagement) is when the baby descends into your pelvic area. This is one of the earliest labor signs. As the baby goes lower, your lungs will be freer to expand, allowing you to breathe more easily. However, the extra pressure removed from your lungs will be applied to your bowel and bladder, which will cause you to urinate more often. This signs often occurs two to four weeks before delivery.
- Unusual vaginal discharge – When labor approaches, your cervix becomes thinner and starts to open, getting ready for the delivery. This process causes some small capillary vessels to break, causing a pinkish or brownish vaginal discharge. This labor sign can occur hours before delivery, but it’s not rare to experience it up to a couple of weeks before it. It is important to see your doctor if the discharge if it is yellow, which may indicate infection, of bright red, which may indicate more serious bleeding.
- Increased energy – Some days before labor starts, many women experience an energy boost. This phenomenon is caused by the action of the hormones involved in labor.
- Diarrhea and nausea – Some days before labor starts you may experience a few “morning sickness” symptoms, due to the hormonal unbalance. Note that this is not actually morning sickness, but the symptoms resemble that condition.
- Increased frequency of Braxton-Hicks contractions – The Braxton-Hicks contractions (present during the last months of pregnancy) usually become more frequent and intense, and sometimes painful.
- Water breakage – The breakage of the amniotic sack is an imminent labor sign. When your water breaks, you are less than 24 hours away from delivery!
False Labor Signs
Braxton-Hicks contractions are commonly mistaken with the “real” contractions. The difference between them is that the Braxton-Hicks ones do not cause any dilation of the cervix.
It’s difficult to differentiate between true labor and false labor, but it’s interesting to know that most false labor contractions cause a pain localized in the lower area of the abdomen, while true labor pain usually starts in the lower back and expands to the abdomen. Also, false labor signs usually subside when changing position, but true contractions will continue regardless of what you do.
When To Seek Medical Attention
Although you are advised to visit your doctor as soon as you experience any change, there are some signs that will require you to seek immediate medical attention. These signs include extensive bleeding, yellow or unusually bad-smelling discharges and any other symptom that may indicate something is wrong. Even when everything is going well, you should consult your doctor whenever you have any doubt or experience an unusual discomfort.