When it comes to giving birth for the first time, it can be hard to know when labour will begin, what you need to do and important things you need to remember. Researching and understanding what will happen to your body in the run up to labour is a great way to prepare. In this post, we will talk about the common early signs of labour, and what do you need to know about them:
Change in how you walk
Your baby’s position is going to change in the few days before labour. This is your baby getting ready for the birth. You’ll feel them lower down, and this is referred to as the baby ‘dropping’. Normally, they’ll sit with their head face-down and their back facing outwards, but it isn’t unheard of for them to lie differently.
Whether it’s an ache in your lower back, or Braxton Hicks contractions that are getting closer together, your body is going to be experiencing a variety of different pains. The Braxton Hicks contractions shouldn’t be painful but are going to feel uncomfortable and the closer they are together could be an early sign of labour.
A burst in energy
Attributed to a need to ‘nest’, you might find that you have the sudden urge to tidy and clean the house in preparation for the arrival of the baby. Even if you are bursting with energy, try not to tire yourself out as this is a little gift from nature to help get you through labour.
One of the more identifiable early signs of labour, your waters breaking is something that every mother-to-be will experience. This can happen before labour or during and it can happen all at once or be a slow trickle over a period of days. It may be that your midwife deliberately breaks your waters to start the labour process.
Additionally, if your waters break whilst away from the hospital, then call the maternity unit as you’re at a higher risk for infection and so they may want to take you in anyway.
Diarrhoea and flu-like symptoms
With the muscles in your uterus relaxing, other muscles are going to be relaxing too and this unfortunately means that diarrhoea is a side-effect of labour. If you find that you’re suffering from flu-like symptoms such as indigestion, nausea and vomiting, these can all be early signs of labour too.
Also known as a ‘show’, the discharge of the mucus plug from your cervix is another early sign of labour. Sometimes streaked with blood, or tinged with pink, this ‘show’ will normally happen a few days before labour.