Ever since you brought home the Prega News Kit, you have been eagerly waiting to meet your little one. Remember the butterflies in your tummy, when you carefully read all the instructions on the Prega News kit and took the pregnancy test by Prega News? And thanks to the accuracy of the pregnancy test by Prega News, you celebrated the good news in just 5 minutes!
However, now that the day of the pregnancy test by Prega News is way behind, and you are weeks or days away from meeting your little one, there is another important thing that may be running through your mind - labour. Well the pregnancy test by Prega News is not the only thing we do! The Prega News kit delivers your good news and also stands with you along the way with other things that you might need - in this case recognizing the signs of labour. Everyone talks about the moment of water breaking and the baby's head pressing on bowels, which ultimately result in labour pain. But did you know that there can be false alarms too? Yes, pain or a similar feeling can often be felt in the later stages of pregnancy, which need not necessarily be a sign of labour. Read on to know more!
Discerning Between Fake and Actual Signs of Labour
In the last two to four weeks before your delivery, you may experience what is known as ‘false labour’. These are also contractions (also known as Braxton Hicks contractions) but they do not mean you need to rush to the emergency room. Let’s find out more about telling the difference between fake and actual signs of labour:
What are Braxton Hicks contractions?
Braxton Hicks contractions which one can feel much like labour pain and can occur during the second trimester but usually take place in the third trimester. They can be uncomfortable more than painful, and may feel like menstrual cramps. It is a way your body prepares for labour by thinning and softening the cervix. They can vary in intensity, can taper off and usually go away with a change in position or when you drink water. These are also sometimes triggered when the mother is very active or after sex. Here’s how you can tell them apart from real contractions:
● Contractions: In false labour, contractions are irregular and don’t get closer together.
● Origin: Real contractions start in the back and progress towards the front whereas false contractions are usually felt in the front.
● Intensity: False signs are usually less intense and taper off but real contractions get stronger with time.
● Movement: False contractions may subside with a change in position or walking whereas these have no effect on real contractions.
The Expected Timeline of Labour
The expected timeline of labour depends on each stage of the labour process:
● Early labour: In this stage of mild, irregular contractions, you can also spot clear or pink discharge. This can last from a few hours to a few days - first time moms usually take a few days to go through this stage.
● Active labour: In this stage, your cervix dilates further, the water breaks and you may experience nausea and cramping. This generally lasts from four to eight hours.
● Birth of your child: In this second stage of active labour, you actually deliver your baby. For first time moms and women who have taken an epidural, this can last longer. It usually lasts from a few minutes to a few hours.
● Delivering the placenta: After the birth of your baby, you will need to push one last time to deliver the placenta - this can take anywhere between five to thirty minutes, and sometimes up to an hour.
Active Signs of Labour
Here are some active signs of labour that you can observe during active labour:
● Water breaking: Fluid leakage or water breaking is one sign that indicates you are going into labour. This may be a fluid from the amniotic sac or can sometimes be mucus/blood.
● Baby’s head pressing on bowels: This manifests as overall discomfort, accompanied by a feeling of sickness in the stomach and rectal pressure with/without the urge to push. The baby’s head pressing on bowels may also cause aches and nausea.
● Fatigue: With so many changes and your body preparing for birth, you will feel tired and exhausted.
● Urge to push: You may feel an urge to push and this is an active sign of labour.
● Regular contractions: In this stage, you will be able to time your contractions - they will last longer and come at regular intervals.
● Dilated cervix: Your body is preparing for birth and with increased contractions, there will be a dilation in your cervix.
● Increased spotting or mucus: As you advance towards active labour, you may notice more blood spots or mucus.
During this stage, it’s best to get ready for birth - whether you’re having a home birth or hospital birth. Even when you’re experiencing false contractions, you should call your doctor and prepare to go to the hospital if you feel too uncomfortable or sick.
When and for how long should I push?
When you’re in the active stage of labour and your cervix is adequately dilated, your doctor will ask you to push. While there is no fixed rule on pushing, you should do it as and when you’re ready. If you’re too exhausted, your doctor will recommend a short rest before you’re ready to push again.
Will I need an episiotomy?
Your doctor would recommend an episiotomy if your baby needs to be delivered fast, the shoulders are stuck behind the cervix or there’s an abnormal heart rate of the baby.
What is the usual lactation period?
Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding from 6 months up to a year. The actual period will depend on you and your baby’s experience and the doctor’s suggestion.