You feel increased pressure in your lower abdomen and may have severe back pain. On the other hand you could also have bursts of energy. There is likely to be a lot of vaginal discharge. If there is a small blob of mucus, it is likely to be 'show'. It is natural to feel anxious - when am I going to deliver?
- Breaking of water or rupture of the membranes
- Diarrhoea or nausea, which many women experience just before the onset of labour
- Spurts of energy or nesting instinct
- "Show", that is, the loss of the mucous plug (which seals the opening of the uterus)
- Bloody show - streaks of blood
- Keep track of foetal movements.
- Learn how to differentiate between Braxton Hicks and labour contractions.
- Keep practising relaxation and breathing techniques.
- You may be advised (very likely in India) induction of labour by your doctor. In many other countries, doctors advise this procedure after 40 weeks.
Ask your doctor
- I feel contractions. Are these labour pains? When do I need to go into hospital?
- What are the emergency signs I should look out for?
- How painful is labour!? Can I take medication for the pain?
- Is it okay to eat or drink during labour?
- Do I have to stay in the hospital? How many days will that be? Can somebody from my family be with me in the hospital?
- What do I need to bring to the hospital for my baby?
Questions you may have
“All new mothers are offered a thorough physical examination for their baby within 72 hours of giving birth. The aim is to spot any problems early so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. Usually, nothing of concern is found. I know that my son’s eyes, heart, hips and testicles were examined.”
“I was frightened of going to the toilet at first because of the burning sensation! I then drank a lot of water and the stinging sensation I was feeling went. I was also constipated for the first few days.
There was some bleeding from my vagina. It was heavy at first and took a few weeks to decrease. The discharge turned brownish before stopping. I also got stomach cramps similar to period pains. I had a normal delivery and did not need stitches because I did not need to have an episiotomy."