The most important sign that you are in labor is the presence of rhythmic contractions as well as disruption in the pouch, loss of the mucous plug and dilation of the cervix all indicate that pregnancy is coming to an end and labor may begin in a few hours.
if it is the first child, time of labour can vary between 12 and 24 hours, but this time tends to decrease with each pregnancy.
Preterm delivery can occur from 20 weeks of gestation, but it is ideal to start after 37 weeks. The most common is that symptoms will begin to appear little by little, with cramps that become more intense and painful.
4 Signs That Labor has Begun
The 4 main signs indicating that labor is starting are:
1. Rhythmic contractions
Contractions are relatively frequent throughout pregnancy, especially in the last trimester, as the body usually prepares the muscles for the time of delivery.
However, in the hours before delivery, these contractions begin to be more frequent, stronger and appear with less spacing between them, becoming more rhythmic. It is usually advisable to go to the hospital when the contractions last for about 60 seconds and appear after every 5 minutes.
2. Loss of mucous plug
When labor starts there’s usually loss of the mucous plug which can be identified when the pregnant woman goes to the bathroom. It is seen as a pinkish or slightly brown gelatinous secretion. Along with the plug, there may be slight bleeding. If the blood loss is more intense, it is important to rush to the hospital or contact the obstetrician.
The mucous plug is a secretion that closes the entrance of the uterus to protect the baby during pregnancy, preventing the entry of microorganisms and preventing infections.
3. Water purse disruption
The rupture of the water also tends to happen at the beginning of labor and usually causes the emission of a urine-like liquid, but lighter and cloudy, which may contain some whitish traces.
Unlike the urge to urinate, in the case of the rupture of the water bag, the woman cannot stop the loss of the liquid.
4. Dilation of the cervix
Another indicator that the baby is about to be born is the dilation of the cervix, which increases as labor develops, but which can only be observed in the hospital by the obstetrician or midwife through the “touch” examination.
It takes a dilation of 10 centimeters of the cervix to allow the passage of the baby, and this is the most time-consuming period of labor.
I’m in labor! What’s next?
When identifying that you are in labor it is important to take into account the type of delivery you want:
1. Cesarean Section
When the pregnant woman wishes to have a c-section, she should inform the obstetrician of the symptoms she is feeling.
In most cases of cesarean section, surgery is already scheduled for a few days before the probable date of delivery and, therefore, the woman may not present any sign of labor.
2. Normal delivery
When the pregnant woman wants a normal birth and discovers that she has gone into labor, she should be calm and be on the watch on how long the contractions appear. This is because labor is time consuming and there is no need to go to the hospital immediately right after the first signs, especially if contractions are not rhythmic and more frequent.
At the beginning of labor the pregnant woman can continue doing her daily activities, especially when it is the birth of the first child because in this case labor takes on average 24 hours.
When to go to the hospital
One should go to the hospital when the contractions become very strong and come after every 5 minutes. However it is important to take into account the traffic and distance to the hospital, and it may be necessary to prepare to leave while the contractions appear every 10 minutes.
During labor the pain should gradually increase, but the calmer and more relaxed the woman is, the better the delivery process. There is no need to go to the hospital right after the first contraction because labor occurs in 3 phases, which include dilation, which is the most time-consuming, active phase, which is the birth of the baby and the phase of placenta exit.