In the last weeks of pregnancy, many mothers cannot overcome their anxiety and constantly sit on a “low-start” with their bags and papers packed in order to get to the maternity hospital in time if their water breaks. This feeling makes it hard to relax and carry the baby in peace, and for some, it makes a lot of unnecessary moves: going to the maternity clinic and coming back home.
So how do you calm your nerves in 38-39 weeks of pregnancy and not worry your husband and relatives unnecessarily? Listen to your body!
Signs of labor can occur in a pregnant woman a few weeks or a few days before the birth – it is an individual process.
One of the signs that the mother-to-be does not always notice, but to which experienced female relatives immediately draw attention, is the “nesting instinct”. This is a special type of behavior that is triggered shortly before the birth: the mother-to-be begins to avoid prying eyes and tries to spend time in a cozy corner, communicating with as few people as possible. In the animal world, the pregnant female seeks the quietest and safest place before giving birth, and in humans, this biological instinct also works.
There are also differences in the appearance of the woman who is about to become a mother: although you are used to your weight increasing from week to week, in the last days of pregnancy the weight usually decreases by a kilogram or two. This can be explained by the release of excess water. And the more pronounced the woman’s weight, the more swelling and, as a consequence, the more mass she loses in preparation for labour.
Attention to the tummy
The baby takes the most comfortable and advantageous position as it prepares to come into the world: its head approaches the entrance to the small pelvis and the mother’s tummy lowers.
After the baby goes down, the mother-to-be may feel that the load on her lower back has increased considerably. Walking becomes more difficult.
Changing food preference
A woman’s eating habits may change drastically before she gives birth. Pregnant women do not usually eat with the same appetite as before. During this period it is no longer necessary to eat for two, but to choose your diet very carefully.
Frequency of movement
The navel may bulge, and the baby, preparing for a demanding job, now moves less often than before. And the bigger baby is cramped in the familiar house.
Breathing becomes easier because the fetus is no longer supporting the diaphragm and the lungs, but is lower. The pregnant woman may feel that she is no longer bothered by heartburn, but it will be a little more difficult to walk and sleep. Although it may happen that the lowering of the head towards the inlet only occurs after the onset of contractions and this is also considered normal.
Frequent urges to urinate
As the pressure on your bladder becomes stronger, you feel that you start to run to the toilet more often. In addition, the bowels may be purged before labour, thanks to spontaneous spasms. Thus, you may feel diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort.
There is another sign that, although it indicates that labour is coming, sometimes it happens two weeks before and sometimes in the process. The mucus plug, which covers the cervix, has come loose and looks like a thick mucus discharge, often with streaks of blood.
Signs of labour in first-time and second-time mothers: what is the difference?
First time pregnant women are not always able to recognise the harbingers of labour, believing that they are just feeling unwell or tired. In first-time mothers, however, all these symptoms run more smoothly and may even start a few weeks before labour, so they may not always serve as a reference point for the mother-to-be.
It is important to learn the difference between a labour in training and a real labour and to listen to your body, as false contractions can seem strong and cause a lot of excitement.
What is the difference for the second time moms: The labour signs start at an earlier stage, as the cervix is already wider. The mucus plug is thicker than in first-time mothers and also denser. False contractions start earlier. Much less time passes between the harbingers and the birth itself. The abdomen drops a few days before labour.
Listen to your body and have an easy labour!