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EarlySigns of Labour

Whenlabour begins, the signs that this process has started can beconfusing. Some women get signs that seem like they will give birthin the next few hours, but still take days, while other women are theopposite. Due dates are also not very accurate; the most accuratedetermination of labour are the feelings the women receive. Thereare, however, some indications of labour that are similar in allwomen.

One ofthe most subtle indications of possible labour is known asengagement. This is when the baby descends slightly in the womb andassumes the position for birth. The woman will feel more comfortableand will be able to eat without heartburn, since the baby is nolonger pushing so hard into the stomach. This is not a reliableindication that labour is starting, since it can happen anywhere fromdays in advance to right before actual labour.

Oncethe baby has descended, the woman will feel some pressure on herpelvic floor; this will continue until the actual birth, since thebaby will remain in this position. Some women may have difficultywalking and women who have given birth before might feel some pain.Walking exercise during early pregnancy can help reduce this pain.

Vaginaldischarge may increase during the onset of labour. While it isnormally thick and white, it is a cause for concern if the dischargebecomes thinner and more watery. This could mean that the membranesurrounding the baby has ruptured and is leaking and this increasesthe risk of infection of the womb or the baby.

Mostwomen will begin to have much stronger feelings of nurturing andprotection towards their baby as they come closer to labour. It iscompletely natural when the woman begins to clean the houseobsessively, organise the house and the baby's room thoroughly andreview her pregnancy procedures over and over. Obviously, the womanshould avoid any strong fumes from cleaning products or blackmould/mildew and must not overexert herself.

Closerto Labour

Whenlabour approaches, the body will begin to produce prostaglandins,which will cause the bowels to loosen and diarrhea to ensue. Thishelps empty the bowels before giving birth. However, very heavydiarrhoea can be cause for concern, as the muscle movements may eveninduce labour themselves.

Thecervix will soften and the mucus plug therein will detach duringlabour and may cause bleeding as the blood vessels surrounding it areweakened or pulled. This is also known as a 'bloody show'.

As thepopular media would have the public believe, water breaking canhappen close to labour, although it does not happen all the time orto such a degree that it is immediately noticeable. Water breaking issimply the membrane around the baby naturally rupturing and theamniotic fluid leaking out.

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