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Monday, April 13, 2009

Labor Signs

12:41 PM


Many changes, like fetal lightening, irregular uterine contractions, and an increase in vaginal secretions, occur 2-3 weeks before childbirth.

Fetal lightening

# Lightening, a symptom experienced by many first-time mothers, occurs during the last 2-4 weeks of pregnancy when the baby slides downward and baby's head enters the mother's pelvic area.
# Breathing becomes easier and some of the pressure on the stomach is relieved because the baby "drops," but the bladder and rectum are under increased pressure, causing constipation, and cystitis-like symptoms, e.g., frequent urination and the sensation of a constant need to urinate.

False labor

# Broxton-Hicks contractions are irregular contractions that can cause extreme discomfort.
# Unlike true labor pains, the interval between Broxton-Hicks contractions is irregular, and contractions are shorter and stronger. In most cases, walking, drinking some fluids, or lying down on the left side can ease the pain. But caution should be taken, for the contractions can become frequent and stronger, leading to true labor pains.

Bloody Show

# Bloody show is when the mucous plug blocking the vaginal opening comes out- usually with a few drops of blood on it. It can be secreted a few days or a few hours before delivery.
# If the secretion is similar to menstruation, this could have a different cause and a physician should be consulted.

Other Signs

# Body weight may drop 0.5-1.5 kg because of changes in electrolytes caused by hormonal changes.
# Some mothers get a surge of energy and clean and organize the house. This is known as the "nesting instinct."

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