The rhythmic contractions are the most important labor signs that the work has really started, while the rupture of the pouch, the loss of the mucous plug, and the dilation of the cervix are signs that the pregnancy is coming to an end, and indicating that the labor can start in a few hours.
In the case of the first child, the time of labor can vary between 12 to 24 hours, but this time tends to decrease with each pregnancy.
Premature birth can appear after 20 weeks of gestation, but ideally, it should start after 37 weeks. The most common is that the symptoms appear little by little, with cramps that become more intense and painful.
4 signs that labor have started
The 4 main labor signs that indicate that labor and delivery is about to start soon are:
1. Rhythmic contractions
Contractions are relatively frequent throughout pregnancy, especially in the last trimester, as the body begins to prepare muscles for delivery.
However, in the hours before delivery, these contractions start to be more frequent, stronger, and appear with less spacing between them, becoming more rhythmic. It is usually indicated to go to the hospital when the contractions last for about 60 seconds and appear every 5 minutes.
2. Loss of mucous plug
Normally, when labor begins, there is a loss of mucous plug, which can be identified when the pregnant woman goes to the bathroom and, when cleaning, observes the presence of a pink or slightly brown gelatinous secretion. Along with the plug, there may still be slight bleeding. If blood loss is more severe, it is important to go to the hospital quickly or contact the obstetrician.
The mucous plug is a secretion that closes the entrance to the uterus to protect the baby during pregnancy, preventing the entry of microorganisms and preventing infections.
3. Breaking the water bag
The rupture of the water bag also tends to happen at the beginning of labor and, normally, causes the release of a liquid similar to urine, but lighter and turbid, which may contain some whitish traces.
Contrary to the urge to urinate, in the case of a rupture of the water bag, the woman cannot stop the loss of liquid.
4. Dilatation of the cervix
Another indicator that the baby is close to being born in 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” exam.
It takes a 10 cm dilation of the cervix to allow the baby to pass, and this is the longest period of labor.
You’re in labor! And now?
When identifying that you are in labor it is important to take into consideration the type of delivery you want:
When the pregnant woman wishes to have a cesarean, she must inform the obstetrician of the symptoms she is experiencing while traveling to the hospital.
In most cases of cesarean section, surgery is already scheduled for a few days before the likely date of delivery and, therefore, the woman may not show any signs of labor.
2. Normal delivery
When the pregnant woman wants a normal delivery and discovers that she has gone into labor, she should be calm and watch how often the contractions appear on the clock. This is because labor is slow and there is no need to go to the hospital immediately after the first signs, especially if the 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 an average of 24 hours. See what to eat in labor while waiting for the ideal time to go to maternity.
When to go to the hospital?
You must go to the hospital when the contractions become very strong and come every 5 minutes, however, it is important to take into account the traffic and the distance to the hospital, and you may need to prepare to leave while the contractions are every 10 minutes. minutes.
During labor, the pain should gradually increase, but the more calm and 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 longest phase, the active phase, which is the birth of the baby, and the phase of leaving the placenta. Find out more details about the 3 phases of labor.