Labour: The Early Signs, What to expect and when to call the doctor or midwife as birth approaches.
As you reach the 36th week of your pregnancy, the long-awaited arrival of your baby is very near……knowing the early signs of early labour and the signs of well established labour will help you decide when to call your doctor/midwife and when to go to the hospital. (And how much more shopping you can squeeze in before the birth. Just sayin’.)
Look out dust pans, watch out bristles, brooms, and mops, you’d better be scared. There is a new Swiffer in town and it is coming after your jobs. UrbanMommies tried the new Swiffer BISSELL SteamBoost and you’d think we’d done a full fall clean. A-hem. It’s a deeply penetrating steam mop that powers through dog footprints, coffee spills and mystery spots whose origins you no longer recall. It even cleans all the stuff your old mop leaves behind (and has left behind since the last time you were washing the floor on your hands and knees). For me that was when I was trying to induce labour contractions a while back….
Now that my babies are growing and ever so helpful, we sometimes play ‘clean the house’. The beauty of this product is that you can kick those nasty buckets out, throw away all those harsh chemicals and use the power of regular tap water and steam to blast away those annoying messes. Three simple steps and you’re well on your way to a quick clean up that will leave you plenty of time to catch up on your favourite shows.
1. fill the compartment with water.
2. attach a Steam pad
3. plug it in and wah-lah.
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Women periodically experience labour contractions when pregnant, even before they enter real labour. Every now and then, the tightening and relaxing of the uterine muscles can stop you in your tracks. These muscles are the largest on a female body. When pregnant, certain stimuli target the pituitary gland to release a hormone called oxytocin. The hormone then stimulates the lining of the uterus and controls its movements. It is then quite difficult to predict when the labor will actually be. It is best to talk to a doctor about understanding labor contractions so that you know what to do and what things you can do if you feel these contractions on your pregnancy.
Early Labour Contractions
When a woman has labor contractions, she would often feel like she is cramping on her uterine area. The sensation starts at the back and in a wave-like pattern, the sensation moves all the way to the front. For some women, the labor contraction is like a pressure on the back area. When a pregnant person has a labor contraction, the stomach feels very hard to the touch. These contractions are very necessary for labor as it is a combination of contractions. When this happens, the upper part of the uterus becomes thickened or tightened. At the same time, the cervix and the lower part of the uterus becomes more flexible as with contraction and relaxation to help the baby pass and be born.
More Regular Contractions
The labor contractions are timed and intermittent. There is a resting period in between the contractions. Contractions often last for 60 seconds with about 5 minute intervals for each. When you start feeling the contractions, it is best to make an effort and record them. You should check how long the initial contraction was and the relaxation. This will help a midwife or a doctor to know at which stage of the labor you in is. During these times, the pregnant woman would consider this as sever menstrual cramps or gas pains. These could at often times be mistaken for flu or intestinal disorders. Contractions are graphed as wave like patterns and it has a zero point and a peak where it is very prominent. As the time for the delivery arrives, the resting time between contractions will shorten as well.
When you are feeling contractions already, take these as signs that your newborn baby will soon be by your arms and all the pain will go away right after that. Looking at things positively will help you relax and calm when in labor. Pressure and negativity can cause stress to your body and if you have a weak heart, you could go to a critical condition. Calm yourself down whenever you can and think positively. Work with your body. Do not work against is. Once you have gotten the hang of it, you will notice that the contractions will pass by and soon enough, your new child will be there and it will all take the pain away and turn it into joy and relief as well as a feeling of completeness as a mother.
Underwater birth is a common birthing trend but it’s hard to really understand the pros and cons of alternative birthing methods such as this. Does it really happen just like in the movie “The Back-Up Plan?” Or is it more chaotic? For those who have never done or seen an underwater birth but are possibly interested in it, there is good news. Underwater births, for women with regular, uncomplicated pregnancies, are safe and lack any real, proven disadvantages.
First though, who can and cannot give birth under water? Only women who have had an uncomplicated pregnancy, carried the baby to full term and are free of chronic health concerns should consider water births. Women who are carrying more than one baby or delivering a baby that is breech should not consider a water birth.
Typically, water births are carried out in hospitals in special birthing pools but not all hospitals embrace alternative birthing methods, which water birth is technically classified under, so if you’re wanting an underwater birth, ensure your hospital has the facilities. If your hospital can’t facilitate a water birth, you have two options: rent or buy a birthing pool and have the baby at home or find a hospital that does supply birthing pools. Regardless of home or hospital birth, most provinces and states require at least the presence of a midwife certified in underwater birthing techniques. If you choose a water birth, remember that things can change extremely fast in the delivery room and that the first priority for the midwife is safely delivering the baby, so if a complication arises, you may have to change your birthing plan quickly.
Water births have several advantages for the mother, the father and the child. The water stimulates the skin of the mother which actually blocks the nerves from feeling the full amount of pain in the stages of contractions and labor. Water will also make the mother’s body light and more mobile allowing her to change positions much easier than on land. This will allow the mother to feel more in control of her body and the labor process, keeping her mind more active, engaged and focused on the task. Different positions allow the mother to deal with the pain easier and switching positions to birth the baby in, rather than on her back, can actually reduce stretching and possible damage to the tissues.
The water also helps increase blood flow and circulation in the mother which allows the muscles that are contracting to have much more oxygen in them, thereby causing less pain. If you choose not to give birth in the water, sitting in a tub until you’re ready to give birth can rapidly speed up the dilation process but births are often over in minutes when done in water. When the mother is not overwhelmed with pain and medication, she is more in control of the situation and aware of what is happening. This also allows the father to be more involved in the birth as many fathers find it difficult to see their wives in such pain and still focus on the birth of the child. Water births generally have a much more peaceful and empowering ambiance and are less stressful for the child to come in to.
As long as the baby’s head doesn’t come to the surface of the water and get re-submerged, the baby will still receive it’s oxygen through the umbilical cord and studies have shown that it is less stressful for a baby to transition into the world this way than straight into the open air.
Your birthing plan should be something you are comfortable with and something that you, your body and your birthing facility can accommodate. Make sure to research options and talk with your doctor before making any solid plans.
After birth, every woman feels…well, a bit out of sorts. There are all kinds of changes going on in your body, there are emotional, mental, and physical stressors everywhere…it’s a difficult time. Practically every new mom experiences some version of the “baby blues,” a normal reaction to the chemical and emotional soup that has become your bloodstream and all the stuff that’s going on around her, but some actually find that their baby blues slip into something more serious: post-partum depression. What’s the difference between the two, and when do you know you need help?
“The Baby Blues”
Depression after Delivery, which is a US postpartum depression support organization, saying that “baby blues is a biological response to a woman’s rapidly changing hormone levels after pregnancy. Symptoms include tearfulness, irritability, impatience, restlessness, and anxiety.” Yeah, tell me about it! A new baby’s arrival brings a disjointed schedule, a sore and changing body, and lots of crying—and then there’s the baby itself to consider! Everyone is allowed some leeway here: no human being is impervious to these things. The baby blues hits around 50-75% of new moms in the weeks after birth, and there’s no shame in it.
Baby Blues Symptoms:
(Source: Postpartum Support International):
Lack of sleep
Food cravings or loss of appetite
Feeling tired even after sleeping
Anxiety and excessive worry
Great concern over physical changes
Confusion and nervousness
Feeling, “I’m not myself; this isn’t me”
Lack of confidence
Crying more than usual
Hyperactivity or excitability
Feelings hurt easily
Lack of feeling for the baby
However, post-partum depression is a different thing altogether. This is a clinical condition that is the baby blues multiplied. Women with PPD find they feel hopeless, doubtful, exhausted yet unable to sleep, they have mood swings, violent thoughts (of hurting themselves and others, including their babies), and a feeling of being disconnected or disjointed from life. If you find yourself constantly angry, sad, and depressed after the first couple of weeks, you may need some help from a professional—and there’s no shame in it.
Post Partum Depression Symptoms
(Source: Postpartum Support International):
Numbness, tingling in limbs
Chest pains, heart palpitations
Despondency or despair
Feelings of inadequacy
Inability to cope
Over concern for baby’s health
Impaired concentration or memory
Loss of normal interests
Thoughts of suicide
Bizarre or strange thoughts
New fears or phobias
No feelings for baby
Over concern for baby
Feeling “out of control”
Feeling like “you are going crazy”
Seek help first from your OB/GYN or family doctor, who will likely run some blood tests to rule out physical causes of your problems, like a thyroid disorder, which can produce many of the symptoms of PPD and is often present after pregnancy and childbirth. If he or she diagnoses you with PPD, you may need some therapy, a course of antidepressants, and a lot of help remembering how to love and nurture yourself.
Every pregnant woman is highly attentive to their bodies, often worrying about every twinge as a sign something might not be wrong, or confused about whether what they are experiencing is normal. One symptom almost every pregnancy features is Braxton Hicks contractions. But what do Braxton Hicks Contractions feel like?
Your body is amazing. It supported a new life for nine months, and then overcame a physical task unlike any other, to give birth to your beautiful baby. Now, your body is producing milk and adjusting to new hormones, sleep deprivation, and new routines. In many cultures, including in Asia, it is expected that during the postpartum period women rest and bond with the baby while her family takes care of all the other daily responsibilities. We’ve researched nourishing foods to support postpartum recovery. You just have to eat them!
It is a drug that is a powerful pain reliever (narcotic). It may be offered to you to help you cope better with the pain of labour. Some women say it takes the edge off the pain and helps them to cope better. It will take the most of the pain away but not all of it. We’ve gathered some Information about intravenous fentanyl so that you can make your labour decisions.
Doses that would take away all your labour pain would make you very sleepy and would decrease your ability to breathe. This could be dangerous for you.
How is Fentanyl given?
It is given to you in a way so it is safe for you and your baby.
First your nurse puts a tube in your hand or arm called an intravenous or IV.
Your nurse, doctor, or midwife gives you the drug through this tube or you can give yourself this drug through the IV by using a pump that you control. It is called a patient-controlled pump. If you are using a pump you cannot give yourself too much of the drug because the pump is set to only allow safe doses.
Side effects of Fentanyl
You may become sleepy
Your breathing may slow down. Some women need to be given some oxygen and be watched closely if this happens.
You may feel sick to your stomach. This happens less often with Fentanyl than with other narcotics.
Fentanyl crosses the placenta and goes to your baby. As a result, your baby may be sleepy and not breathe well at birth. If this happens your baby may be given a drug that helps called Naloxone. Naloxone is given to your baby by an injection into the muscle of her or his leg. Sometimes, if you have needed a large dose of fentanyl, your baby’s breathing may have to be watched closely for several hours.
Your baby may have some trouble starting breastfeeding because she/he is sleepy and you may need more help to get your baby to breastfeed. Your nurse and/or lactation consultant will be able to help you get breastfeeding started.
What does is it not do?
Fentanyl will not take all your pain away.
Fentanyl does not give pain relief so your doctor/midwife can help your baby be born by the use of forceps or vacuum.
If your labour is very long it may not be as helpful later on as you may need a different form of pain relief.