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Recognizing the first signs of childbirth | Mom & co

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Recognizing the first signs of childbirth

How do I recognize the start of my labour? Good question! A question that occupies many pregnant women and their partners. When will my labor start? How does it start? Has my labor already started? Because a birth is completely unplanned, and something so big is about to happen, it makes sense that these questions run through your head. No one can predict exactly when you will give birth, but there are several signs that labor is near and/or that your body is ready for the birth of your baby.

Descent of your baby.

When a baby descends, it means that the head descends deeper into the pelvis. If the baby is in a breech position, these are the buttocks. At the end of pregnancy, most babies go into decline. One baby does this at 32 weeks, the other at 38 weeks and some even only during delivery. So it doesn’t say anything about when you will give birth, but it is a sign that your body is getting ready for the delivery.

Most mothers notice that a baby descends due to mild pain in the lower abdomen, or stitches that you can feel in your vagina. (Enjoy! ;)) During the consultation, your midwife will feel for the descent with her hands on your stomach, and tell you whether a baby is already fixed or still mobile in the pelvis. A descended baby can push your bladder quite a bit, so if you don’t already go to the bathroom 453 times a day, you often do now.

Messing around / contractions.

“I messed up a bit last night.” A well-known saying, but what does it actually mean? At the end of the pregnancy, your uterus may have some practice contractions. This is different from hard bellies. Hard bellies are painless and can be experienced a little earlier in the pregnancy, for example after a busy working day. Innocent, as long as you don’t have them too often. Front contractions feel more like a small contraction. They are often somewhat irregular and last a short time. You sometimes have to sigh them lightly and after a while they disappear again. They often make the cervix a bit soft, and can sometimes even cause a little bit of dilation. Pre-contractions do not always subside, because they can also become stronger and more regular, and eventually continue into ‘real’ contractions: good news! You are going to give birth.

If you’ve ever given birth, you usually “mess up” a bit more than someone who has never given birth. Sometimes this can make you a bit restless because you wonder ‘Is this it?’ Trust yourself and your body. When contractions become more regular, stronger, and last longer, you will feel the difference and automatically focus more on the contractions and your breathing. Read here about the five different stages of childbirth.

Expiration and softening of the cervix.

Your cervix is a round closure of your uterus that looks a bit like the nozzle of an inflated balloon. In pregnancy it is hard, stiff and 3-4 cm long. At the end of your pregnancy, it can soften somewhat, or become soft. In addition, a cervix can elongate, meaning it shortens. For some this happens during pregnancy, for others during the beginning of labour. The opening of the cervix is called dilation. You can only find out through an internal examination where the cervix is felt. Please note; it says nothing about when you are going to give birth, there are ladies who sometimes walk around for a week, or even longer, with an expired cervix that is even a bit open. That is why your midwife does not do an internal examination without reason when you are heavily pregnant, this often only causes unnecessary unrest.

Losing the mucus plug.

The word mucus plug may sound like a cute jelly-like plug, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is a thick and tough piece of mucus that is in your cervix. It forms the closure of the uterus and thus serves as a protection. You lose the mucus plug at the end of the pregnancy or during labor, and there is no reason to call your midwife. It often comes in parts, so don’t be alarmed if you occasionally find some mucus mixed with a little bit of blood in your underpants. It is normal that when you lose the mucus plug, it takes a few days or even longer before you go into labor. No worries, the membranes also protect the baby and it is completely normal!


Well, those intestines often make themselves heard just before you give birth, or during the start of your birth. In this way, your body clears your metabolic system so that space is released and all energy can go to the uterus. So don’t be alarmed if you have to go to the toilet a few times at the beginning of your birth, or even vomit once: tidy is neat and your body is ready for the ‘real’ work.

Break your waters.

Waters can break before you have contractions, or when you are already having contractions. There are women who feel a ‘pop’, but usually it is characterized by the fact that you continuously lose small amounts of fluid that you cannot stop. The big splash from the film occurs but is seen less often. If it happens during the day, let your midwife know. If it happens in the evening or at night, you put a maternity bandage from the maternity package (such a very large one) in your underpants and try to go to sleep further / early. You call the midwife as soon as you have regular contractions or you let them know in the morning.

The clarity of the amniotic fluid is important. Amniotic fluid that is clear as water, with white flakes, or pink in color is called clear amniotic fluid. If it is green or brown, then the baby has pooped in the amniotic fluid and you should call your midwife 24/7.

As you can see, there are a lot of signs on your body that indicate that it is ready for birth, or may even begin any moment. Keep in mind that these are all omens, and it might as well take a while. When exactly you will give birth is a question that you can only answer when you actually give birth. And that’s a good thing, because not knowing when your baby is coming is part of the magic of the whole birth process.

If your labor does not start on its own and you are about the due date, it might be interesting to read our blog about inducing the birth yourself.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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