First signs of early labour:
Nesting is an instinct that nearly every new mum tobe experiences. You may find that you go into a cleaning frenzy. Reorganizing the baby’s room, cleaning the house from top to bottom. This is completely normal! Its just nature’s way of letting you know the baby is coming soon. So, clean as much as you like. Use gloves when using chemicals of any kind. Don’t touch the cat litter and avoid areas that harbour black mould or mildew.
Diarrhoea and bowel disturbance:
Nearing the onset of labour your body will produce prostaglandins, a chemical which will cause loose bowel movements.
Babies head becomes engaged:
Engagement is when the baby drops deep into the pelvis and nestles into position ready for birth.
Vaginal discharge in early labour:
You could experience more discharge in the days leading up to your labour. Normally thick and whitish, if the discharge changes to thin and watery it could indicate a leak in the bag of waters surrounding your baby.
Softening of the cervix, mucus plug, or bloody show:
Near labour you may find red streaks and a thick mucous ‘blob’. This is the mucus plug that has been in the cervix since after conception to prevent access to the womb from bacteria.
If the contractions are mild and only come infrequently they are referred to as False or Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Regular, rhythmic contractions:
When labour begins, those contractions suddenly begin to come in a regular pattern and occur closer together. At first, the contractions may be felt as a hardening of the stomach or very strong menstrual cramps. Women who are experiencing their first labour may have mild contractions for a few days before regular labour begins. Breathing exercises may help with the pain felt during contractions.
The sudden flow of amniotic fluid happens when the bag of waters around your baby rupture, which may not occur until your in active labour. Occasionally your doctor/midwife may use an instrument to rupture the membranes. If you suspect your waters have broken, tests can confirm whether the leaking fluid is actually amniotic fluid or urine