Even parents who've been through it before can't always tell when labor is approaching. That's because many of the early signs of labor are vague and easily misinterpreted: Do those dull cramps signal that your baby is moving into position, or are they a result of the grande burrito you ate last night?
Is that little trickle of fluid your water breaking, or is it just urine leaking because a 7-pound baby is resting on your full bladder? To help you figure out when you're really nearing your delivery date, learn about the cues that may signal the first signs of labor.
Signs That Labor Is Weeks or Days Away
Just when you think that you can't possibly be pregnant any longer, you may experience some of the following signs that labor is near.
These symptoms don't necessarily occur in any particular order, and some people will experience only a few rather than all. You may experience several within the same day or a few days of each other—and some may come and go before you even recognize them as a sign.
You can breathe a bit easier
As you approach delivery, your baby descends lower into the birth canal, a process called "engagement."
With this move, the weight of your baby is no longer pressing on your diaphragm, and you may be able to breathe more freely as a result. The tradeoff? The potential for more pelvic pressure.
You notice an increase in discharge
Many people experience an increase in vaginal discharge (leukorrhea) throughout pregnancy, and sometimes the amount of this discharge increases in the weeks and days leading up to labor as the vagina prepares for the baby to pass through the birth canal. Leukorrhea plays a vital role in the vagina's ability to self-clean.
As you approach delivery, the cervix will also soften, thin, and dilate—and this process actually begins before labor officially starts. As the cervix begins to open, you may also notice an increase in vaginal discharge that may appear brownish or pinkish in color.
If you have an internal vaginal exam by a doctor or midwife, they may also inform you of any softening, thinning, or dilatation of your cervix which is another sign that your body is preparing for labor and delivery.
Your weight gain slows
Near the very end of your pregnancy, your weight gain may slow. This may be due to the baby reaching their full-term size.
Not everyone will experience a decrease in weight gain, however, and some pregnant people may experience more swelling near the end of pregnancy.
You need to visit the bathroom more often
If you're finding yourself taking a few more trips to the bathroom with loose and frequent bowel movements, there may be a perfectly good explanation.
Content created and supplied by: Nancy Gesare (via Opera News )
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