Pregnancy

The Early Signs of Labour…?

Two days until my due date…

Image from here

I’ve spent most of the weekend feeling restless and anxious. It’s like I’m having some sort of out of body experience; I’m emotional (more than usual), I can’t seem to sit still for long periods of time, and my mind is all over the place. I’ve been experiencing horrible pains, like I’ve pulled a muscle in my groin;  going from sitting/lying to standing is so painful I yelp every time I move. During a particularly bad Braxton Hicks session on Friday night, Nick and I began to convince ourselves I was in early labour, so we did what any modern day parent-to-be would do and consulted Google. As usual with pregnancy nothing is definite; one persons early labour signs are another’s active labour! 
This is what we’re supposed to be looking out for:
A Show
No I’m not talking about hopping on a train and visiting the West End. A Show is when the mucus plug that keeps your baby safely in your cervix disperses and leaves a nice “bloody show” in your pants (too much information?). After this happens your baby can appear anytime between a few hours and a few days. However, this doesn’t always happen in early labour.
Your waters break
They can gush or they can trickle. Apparently when this happens you should hear an audible “pop”. Again, this doesn’t always happen in early labour, and you can be in active labour before your waters break. I suggest wandering around Marks and Spencers if you think they might break soon, as rumour has it you get a years free shop.
Contractions 
These supposedly feel like a wave starting at the top of your tummy and moving down. Other Mutti’s have said that it feels like your tummy is tightening and loosening. Everyone’s experience of contractions appears to be different. Useful. I’m going to go with what my Braxton Hicks contractions have felt like, i.e. painful.
Pains like menstrual cramps and back ache
Again, this doesn’t always happen, or can mean your baby is just lying in an awkward position for a bit, or you’re just experiencing Braxton Hicks again. I’d like to add that it’s pretty mean of the body to give you Braxton Hicks so close to the due date – it’s like goading a dog with a sausage… 
Other signs to look out for
Nausea, vomiting and upset tummy. 

After reading many “real life” labour experiences it’s clear everyone is different, and I’m probably still as confused as I was on Friday evening… The reoccurring theme is that “you will know”, but at my 38 week appointment my midwife regaled tales of ladies turning up to their 40 week appointments 6cms dilated with no idea they were in labour! So I guess only time will tell. 

I do, however, have a suggestion for modern science so we can know for definite that we’re in labour; scientists need to rig up some sort of light that flashes when labour begins (something that trips a switch when a certain hormone appears). This way we could give everyone enough notice that baby’s arrival is imminent, and request that they get the pain relief/towels/midwife/champagne ready! 
Hannah

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