Indications of impending labour
1. Increasing Braxton Hicks contractions.
(Braxton Hicks, are sporadic uterine contractions, sometimes refer to as ‘false labour’. The contraction which last for one to two minutes are said to be preparing the body for birth)
2. The baby descends into your pelvis
In the case of first-time mothers, the baby’s head stays in position from approximately four weeks before the due date – somewhat later if you have given birth before. Your gynaecologist will check this.
3. You may have mucous plug discharge
In most women, the external orifice has a mucous plug as protection against bacteria. This secretion may be watery or a viscous, whitish or yellowish plug, which will slide out in the course of the last week before delivery. It may also contain a little blood. This is nothing to worry about and is just an indication that labour is approaching.
4. Bloody show (a few days before delivery) – is nothing to worry about
This bleeding stems from the external os and is caused when small blood vessels burst as the cervix shortens.
5. You may experience regular uterine contractions increasing in intensity and duration, and progressively increasing in frequency.
6. Your water bag ruptures
In 10% of pregnant women labour starts this way. Irrespective of whether you are planning to have your baby at the hospital or at home, it is a good idea to contact your doctor and arrange when you should arrive at the birth venue.
If you are having your first baby, normal childbirth may take 24 hours from the time of the first contraction or from when your waters burst until your baby is born. If you have given birth before, labour will usually progress a little faster.
Things to pack for the hospital and back
It is good to have the things you’ll need at the birth venue ready packed because you might miss out something if you wait for the last minute. If the labour pain starts earlier than expected you might not have the time. It is good to pack two bags, one for you and one for your baby. If it is a normal birth and there are no complications you’ll stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days the most.
What not to take:
Jewellery or other valuables. Office Work.
For Your Baby:
- Swaddle Blanket
- Baby clothes – baby suits, shirts, pants, vests - you can buy them in full sets
- Mittens & Booties
- Diapers for your Newborn
- Baby Towel
- A cap
- Car Seat
- Baby carrycot/ Stroller
- Baby Wipes
- Necessary Admission Documents
- A Birth Plan if you had prepared one so the person accompanying you can resolve issues if there are any.
- Pyjamas or Sarong.
- Blouses that can be unbuttoned at the front easily are practical for breastfeeding.
- Comfortable Nursing or regular Bras
- Disposable Panties
- Sanitary Pads
- Your Eyeglasses (a reminder especially for those who use contact lens)
- Toiletries - Toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, body lotion, deodorant, hair-brush, hair band, make-up.
- Socks and comfortable Shoes or Slippers
- Breast Pump
- Comfortable Clothes to wear upon discharge from hospital.
- A camera or video camera-fully charged -let your husband take charge of this.
- An mp3 player and reading material if you feel necessary