What are the symptoms to look out for before D-Day?

1. Dropping

  • Your baby will move down lower in your abdomen

  • You’ll be able to breathe more easily

  • You might be able to sense the baby’s head resting on your pelvic bone

2. Frequent Urination

  • Because your baby is lying closer to your bladder, you’ll feel the need to urinate even more often now

3. Strengthened, More Frequent Braxton Hicks Contractions*

  • They’ll become more painful, feeling like menstrual cramps

  • Signifies the thinning out of your cervix

  • Could last for a couple of weeks before labour starts

4. Dilation

  • Your cervix softens, thins, and widens

5. Bloody Show

  • You may pass your mucus plug

    • Mucus plug = the thickened mucus that seals off your cervical canal

  • The mucus plug may come out all at once or over several days

  • Usually tinged brown, pink, or red

6. Diarrhea

  • Caused by birth hormones

  • Might also be accompanied by nausea

Are these contractions the real ones?

*Braxton Hicks contractions and the real thing: What’s the difference?

  • Braxton Hicks contractionsi

    • These are painless contractions

    • They begin early in pregnancy

    • Don’t happen at regular intervals

    • May increase in number & strength when the uterus is massaged

    • Usually felt only in the front of abdomen or pelvis

  • True labour contractions

    • Come at regular intervals, lasting 30-70 seconds

    • They get closer together and stronger

    • Location of contractions is the entire abdomen area

    • May start in lower back and move to front of the abdomen or vice versa

When would I need induction?ii

  • You’re approaching 2 weeks after your due date and labour hasn’t started. Nowadays, induction may start around week 41. Research has shown that inducing labor after 41 completed weeks has more advantages than disadvantages.iii

    • 42 weeks is the cut-off for letting pregnancies continue

  • Even though your water has broken, you’re not having contractions

  • You have an infection in your uterus

  • Your baby isn’t developing at the expected pace

  • There isn’t enough amniotic fluid surrounding your baby

  • The placenta partially or completely separates from your uterus before delivery

  • Your pregnancy is considered high-risk

Most of these decisions are taken by your attending obstetrician but you need to inform them of any of the above (e.g. if you are overdue by dates)

How can I get induced?

The process that your obstetrician would normally follow:

  • This begins with taking prostaglandins (vaginal application is more effective)iv

  • If that doesn’t work, a Pitocin injection or drip is given

    • Pitocin is a man-made form of oxytocin

  • Contractions begin and are monitored along with baby’s heartbeat and other signs of labour such as cervix dilation

Glade B Curtis & Judith Schuler, Your Pregnancy week By Week. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2016.. Inducing labor: When to wait, when to induce. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/.... 8 Signs That Labor is Near. (2015, February 02). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/pregnancy-childbirth/ninth-month/8-sign...

 

References:


i Glade B Curtis & Judith Schuler, Your Pregnancy week By Week. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2016.

ii Inducing labor: When to wait, when to induce. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/...

iii Inducing labor after 41 completed weeks has more advantages than disadvantages. Retrieved 16 June 2017 from, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072754/

iv Thorbiörnson, A. et al (2016). Oral versus vaginal prostaglandin for labor induction. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 30 (7), 789-792.