Early Signs of Labor! What you need to know!

Early Signs of LaborHey Everyone! So as many of you hopefully know I am very very pregnant! Today I am 38 weeks and 4 days!! This means that I am oh so close to giving birth! (Have you read about my decision to have a Natural Childbirth?) Regardless, this pregnancy seems to drag on and on and on!

I had my 38 week midwife appointment today and she said the baby has dropped, which explains why the top of my belly seems to be squishier than normal and the increased pain in my cervix! She said. however that the baby will probably not come until around 40 weeks! It is true that most babies come at the 40 week mark (that’s why its your DUE DATE) but I can’t believe I still have to wait 2 more weeks.

As soon as I got home I went straight for my Pregnancy Bible What to Expect When You’re Expecting to learn more about early labor signs! Every little pain or cramp that I have I think, MAYBEEEEE this is it! But so far, a big fat nothing.

Anyway, after reading through my favorite pregnancy book (once again) I decided to share with you some information on the early signs of labor! So without further adieu, here are all the labor signs you shouldn’t ignore!

Pre-Labor (1-4 weeks before labor)

  1. The Baby “Drops:” we have all probably heard a little something about the baby dropping. But what does that mean exactly? It means that the baby is fully engaged and has settled into its final position before birth! For first time mothers this can happen as soon as 4 weeks before birth, but for women with previous childbirth experience it doesn’t usually happen until you are actually in labor! At this point you may feel a sense of lightning in your tummy, which can give you a little bit more room to breath, eat, and will hopefully relieve some of that heartburn (mine is still going strong unfortunately!) You may also feel yourself waddling more as the baby is settled very low in your pelvis! You may also have more of those lightning pains in your cervix and an increased need to pee!
  2. Your Cervix Dilates: As your labor nears, your cervix will start to soften and ripen to prepare for labor. Your midwife or doctor may check how dilated you are in the final weeks of your pregnancy (Although mine does not!). Eating 6 dates a day starting a few weeks before can drastically help ripen your cervix to prepare for labor! (Read The Magic of Dates for more information)
  3. Increased back pain and more cramps: as your muscles and ligaments prepare for labor you will probably feel some pain in your lower back as well as some more cramps in your uterus and groin area. If you are feeling Braxton Hicks cramps you will probably start to feel a lot more around this time!
  4. Loose Bowel Movements: As all your muscles start to relax in preparation for labor so does your rectum! You may start to experience loose bowel movements as you get closer to labor. Which might be a relief if you have suffered from constipation and hemorrhoids throughout your pregnancy.
  5. Fatigue or a burst of energy: You may feel extra sleepy in the last few weeks of your pregnancy! All that work your body is doing to prepare for labor can be pretty exhausting! You may, however, be feeling the opposite as your nesting instinct kicks in and you feel a burst of energy! You may feel the urge to clean the house or make all your last-minute baby preparations. Whichever way you are feeling, make sure to take it easy and rest up as much as you can to prepare for your big day!
Think your in Labor? Check out these early signs of labor! Click To Tweet

Early Labor (The hours before labor begins)Signs of Labor

 

  1. Loss of the Mucous Plug: The Mucous plug is what seals off your cervix and keeps your baby safe inside your uterus, but as your cervix starts dilating the plug falls away. It can come out in one large chunk or can come our slowly. You may see an increase in mucous-y vaginal discharge that may even be spotted red or pink. This is called your bloody show and usually happens when you lose your mucous plug.
  2. Stronger more frequent contractions: You will start to feel more contractions that just don’t let up. “Fake”or “Braxton Hicks”contractions usually let up when you change position or move but these contractions do not! Instead they keep feeling stronger, more frequent, and more painful!
  3. Your Water Breaks: One of the final signs of labor is your water breaking. When you feel your water break you should give birth within 24 hours to prevent infection. Your water breaking, however, generally doesn’t happen until you are already fully aware that you are in labor!

If you experience these signs before you are 37 weeks pregnant be sure to call your doctor immediately! You could be going into Pre-Term labor!

When to call?

Every midwife or doctor has different protocols, but generally you should call when:

  • You are experiencing contractions that last for 1 minute
  • Contractions are about 3-5 Minutes apart
  • You experience this for about an hour

You should also always call your midwife if:

  • Your water breaks and it looks green or brown. This is an indication that the baby has had its first bowel movement and can pose risks to both you and your baby!

I don’t know about you but I am DYING to get my labor started and meet my baby! I am experiencing some of these signs, but that could still mean that labor is a few weeks away! There are some ways to help induce labor naturally, that have actually been proven to work so I urge some of you to try them (myself included!)

Wish me luck as I hope this baby comes as soon as possible! And as always, thank you for reading =)

11 Ways to Induce Labor, Naturally!

Hello Friends and Followers =)

As many of you probably know, I am 37 weeks pregnant! (Ill stop saying it if its getting annoying)! What this means is that the baby is considered full term and could potentially come at any moment, although our due date isn’t till October 31st!
leighcomputerRegardless, this baby has been cooking for 9 months now, and I am so ready to get this bun out of the oven! So as I sit at my computer this morning eating my daily dose of dates and drinking my Nescafe Vanilla Latte , I am obsessively looking for ways to naturally (and safely) induce labor!

Walking

Not only is getting out for a walk during pregnancy oh so important to get your blood flowing and remain active, but it can also help induce labor (if you are ready of course!) A simple jaunt around the block can help ease your baby further down into your pelvis. this means that labor could be on its way sooner, rather than later.

But remember that every pregnant mother is different! My baby has been engaged since 29 weeks and there is still no sign of labor!! While I still try to go for walks everyday it has become pretty painful to walk for long amounts of time because the baby is positioned so low and pushes down on my pelvis!

 Induce Labor Naturally

Evening Primrose Oil

This oil, taken orally or inserted directly into the vagina can help soften and dilate the cervix prepping your body for labor! Using EPO is a common practice by midwives all over the world to help induce labor, and while it is totally safe, make sure you consult your doctor or midwife before using any natural supplements to induce labor!

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Like Evening Primrose Oil, Red Raspberry Leaf tea can also help soften and dilate the cervix! Try sipping this Third Trimester Tea from Earth Mama to get you a little bit closer to delivery day!

Caster Oil

I am a little bit skeptical of this one but ill mention it anyway! Castor oil is a natural laxative known to stimulate your bowels and cause intestinal spasms! These spasms can help kick start those dreaded labor contractions. While this may be a good option, caster oil does not taste very good (not at all!) and may end up causing a bad case of diarrhea instead of including labor! If you are desperate, go ahead and try it, although I probably wont be trying it any time soon!

couple-1299677_640Sex

Another great way of inducing labor! Not only can it potentially start labor contractions but prostaglandins in sperm can help dilate and ripen the cervix!

Not feeling it? A good cuddle might just do the trick as well! When you are relaxed and close to your partner your brain releases Oxytocin, a hormone that is known to get labor and delivery on its way!

Nipple Stimulation

Nipple stimulation has the same affect as a good cuddle, it releases Oxytocin! The downside? Studies have shown that nipple stimulation is only beneficial if its done for a few hours a day!

Spicy Foodappetite-1238240_640

While there is no real evidence supporting the claim that spicy food can cause labor…some believe that it can cause intestinal distress (if you know what I mean) which can lead to cramping and labor contractions!

Acupuncture

I think ill skip this one (I don’t really like needles!) but some women swear by it as a way to naturally induce labor! It is believed that there are certain pressure points in the body that stimulate labor naturally!

Acupressure

finger-160597_640This one I could totally try! Acupressure is the same concept as acupuncture, just without the needles. It uses pressure, instead of needles, to stimulate on certain pressure points on the body. You can also try this one at home. Try pressing on the webbing between your thumb and index finger!

Massage

This one I could also totally try 😉 A massage has the same affect as cuddling because it releases Oxytocin, a chemical known to induce labor. Go ahead and get yourself a pregnancy massage or you can have your partner give you one as well. (He is probably just as ready for delivery day as you are)!

Check out these 11 ways to induce labor, naturally!! Click To Tweet

Dates

While dates aren’t specifically known to induce labor, they can help soften and ripen your cervix for labor if consumed daily for about 8-6 weeks. If you have read My Pregnancy Diet you probably know how much I love my dates! Also, check out The Magic of Dates for more information on this magical little fruit =)

So there we have it, 11 natural ways to induce labor! Remember that it is not safe to try to induce labor before 37 weeks, but once your baby is full term go ahead and start twisting your nipples to your hearts desire! Or maybe encourage your partner to give you a nice massage instead =)

Are you sick of waiting? Check out these fun things to do to keep your mind off of the fact that your still pregnant! Overdue? Check out what to do now?

I think I’ll go on a little walk to the market and get myself some Third Trimester Tea from my local organic store (they carry earth Mama products!)

Until next time, Happy Pregnancy!!

Sources? My one and only Pregnancy Bible, What to Expect When You’re Expecting