Everyone’s labour progresses differently, but there are a few common signs that it is on its way.
• Lightening: First-time mothers often experience “lightening,” or the dropping of the baby lower into the belly, 2 – 4 weeks before labour begins. Experienced mothers may not experience dropping until labour is underway.
• Bloody Show: During pregnancy, a mucus plug forms in the cervix to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus. As labour approaches and the cervix thins out, this plug will be expelled. In first time mothers, the plug is often expelled a little at a time and streaked with pink blood. This is because the cervix bleeds a bit as it thins and stretches. Once the mucus plug has been expelled, labour generally begins with 72 hours.
• Diarrhoea: Diarrhoea is often a sign of imminent labour, and can, in fact, be a sign that labour is underway. The very same prostaglandins that help soften and dilate the cervix can cause over stimulation of the bowels, leading to loose stools. Some research suggests that emptying the bowel is nature’s way of making room for your baby to be born, but regardless of its purpose, diarrhoea is a very common indication that your baby is on her way.
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