While becoming a mom can be one of the most glorious days in any woman’s life, let’s face it, giving birth isn’t necessarily the most glamorous and easiest experience. It’s best to be prepared with the realities of childbirth. Here are five things to expect before and during the onset of labor.
Sources: • “Lightening During Pregnancy As An Early Sign of Labor” GivingBirthNaturally.com • Stephanie Wood. “The Real Poop on Labor” Parenting.com • Harmony Cornwell. “Labor & Delivery: Mucous Plug Questions Answered > What is a mucous plug and why do you lose it?” PregnancyToday.com
Lightening is what you call when the baby starts bearing down into your pelvic area. The baby descends from under the mother’s rib cage, allowing her to breathe in more air. During the process of lightening, the baby bears pressure as well on the mother’s rectum. This can happen as early as weeks or mere hours before labor. Not all women experience lightening pre-labor, though. Some babies only actually move downwards during actual labor.
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2. False Labor versus True Labor
How do you know if you’re experiencing false labor or true labor already? Well, there are signs you can watch out for so you can tell the difference. Contractions, for instance, should come at regular intervals, lasting for 30 to 70 seconds. The intervals between these contractions should get closer together, gradually getting stronger. You’ll know it’s true labor if you can feel the contractions from your lower back to the front of your abdomen.
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3. Water Bag Breakage
We’ve seen it happen a lot in movies, where the woman suddenly feels a gush of water down her legs and screams that her water bag has broken, or, in medical terms, the membrane ruptures. While this may be the common portrayal of a baby well on the way, this is hardly the case among most pregnant women when they’re about to go into labor. In fact, only around one out of every four women actually have their water bags break before labor. And, it’s really more of a trickle than a sudden release of fluid from your vagina. Have a change of clothes ready when you’re in your 36th week, in the event that your water bag should break in the office or elsewhere in public. Note that the risk for infection heightens when the amniotic sac is broken, so be sure to contact your OB-Gyne about your next best course of action.
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4. The Mucus Plug versus the “Bloody Show”
The thing about the mucus plug is that it does not exactly look the same for each pregnant woman. This plug, which can be a clear substance with streaks of blood, yellowish, greenish, pinkish, brownish or a mix of these colors, acts as a barrier for the uterus against bacteria. Even the way it comes out is different for every woman. It could be a gelatinous mass or come out in bits. What’s important is to be able to tell whether it’s already the mucus plug or just the regular vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Why do mothers’ mucus plugs get dislodged? It’s a sign that their cervix is becoming thinner, softer and more dilated, which means that baby is on the way. While losing the mucus plug does not mean that you’re already immediately about to go into labor, it’s always best to notify your OB-Gyne when it happens, especially if it’s before the 37th week. The bloody show, on the other hand, is a type of vaginal discharge that moms experience a day or so before labor. It’s typically “stringy mucus streaked with blood.”
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5. Pooping During Delivery (Yikes!)
Yes, it does happen. Some moms have actually pooped while giving birth. But don’t let this bother you, because it’s natural. When you’re pushing with all your might to get your baby out, you could very well push out whatever’s in your rectum. Don’t sweat it. Sterile pads will be used to immediately wipe your poopie away.