Symptoms of Labour pain

Labour pain symptoms

Labour pain symptoms: Recognising the signs of Labour

Labour is defined as the sequence of contractions that lead to the birth of your baby. Every woman is different and so is every pregnancy. As a result, it is difficult to point out the exact time when the baby will be ready to be born and when the labor starts.

Now that your due date is getting close, you should know the early labour pain symptoms to look out for. Even though symptoms of Labour pains vary from person to person, a large percentage of women experience signs of labour that begin gently, and only gradually develop into full fledged labour over the course of hours or even days. It then becomes essential to note the most subtle changes that can indicate your baby is on the way.

Symptoms of labour:

  • Your waters break

For some women the sac of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby ruptures, which is called the breaking of waters. This event could either be dramatic where all the water comes out in a gush or it could be a slow trickle of water which comes out bit by bit. Your water can break at any time during early labour or birth, sometimes it may remain completely intact until after birth or it may be manually be broken by your doctor to help get your labour underway.

Do remember, ifyour waters do break, call your doctor immediately, since then you are at a heightened risk of infection.

  • You have backache

An slow dull ache in your lower back during the late stages of pregnancy indicates that your baby is rotating in preparation for the right position for labour. This process could usually take a few days and may be painful. However be advised that this could also indicate the start of your contractions. Contrary to what you may believe, a large percentage of women experience labor pains in their back rather than their stomach. The best way to manage this backache is to put put your feet up and get someone to give you a backrub.

  • You have a ‘bloody show’

The mouth of your cervix is covered by a mucus plug during pregnancy and this may come loose a few days to a few hours before labor sets in.So, if you notice a brown, pink or blood tinged pinkish discharge don’t panic. It nay come out in a lump at one time or over the course of a few days. Either which way you have to let your doctor know when this happens especially to make sure it is not bleeding.

  • Your nipples are leaking

It’s not just during breastfeeding that your breasts will have fluids coming out of it. For a lot of women this happens throughout the final trimester! However, you’ll probably notice this most in the final weeks before the baby comes. This is just your body’s way of preparing for the baby. This fluid that you’re producing is called ‘colostrum’, which is a nutrient-filled liquid that keeps a newborn nourished until proper milk kicks about a couple of days after delivery. If you notice wet patches on your bra, consider buying some disposable breast pads which will keep you dry.

  • Diarrhoea

It is hormones that enable the uterus contract during the labour process. These same hormones could also potentially cause diarrhoea in the hours before birth. Increase your intake of water and fluids ifthis happens, but hold off on milk and sugary drinks, as they can make the diarrhoea worse. Eating foods such as bland rice and curd will also help you keeping your energy levels up.

Early signs of labour:

  • Swelling down below

Pregnancy not only leaves you with swollen feet but may also leave you feeling swollen around the entrace of your vagina or the labia. While this may be quite uncomfortable, it is also very normal and is caused by the increased blood volumes in your body. Also your baby in the third trimester moves lower and into the pelvis area thus putting more pressure around your vagina, making it feel swollen. You could ease this discomfort by putting an ice-pack in the area and resting.

  • Walking differently

A lot of women notice a change in their gait, which resembles (hold your breath!) a duck waddling! This happens when your pelvis widens in preparation for the impending birth and is therefore a definite indication that your baby will soon be arriving.

  • Contractions

You may be experiencing Braxton Hicks or short tightening sensations, which are painless and are the body’s way to prepare for birth. Real contractions on the other hand start weak and may feel much like period pain, but then grow in frequency and intensity. Consult you doctor if you are in doubt or if the contractions progressively worsen. When the contractions become so intense, you struggle to talk, you’ll know it’s definitely time to head to hospital.

Your reaction to labor will depends on:

  • Your experience with labor
  • Your reaction to pain
  • Your awareness about labor

When to call your doctor with labour pain symptoms

If you feel any of the above symptoms and are yet unsure, don’t feel embarrassed to call your doctor regardless of time of the day. Your doctor is accustomed to receiving such calls and is trained to guide you and help you understand the right signs of labor. The doctor is also trained to sense your condition from your voice, so talk freely with your doctor.

If she feels that you are in labor, she may ask you to come to the hospital. If you are really in labor, she may ask you to get admitted. If it is a fake sign, then she may declare you fine and send you home.

How to cope with labour pain

If you are indeed in labor, try to stay as relaxed as possible to cope with the contractions. Here are a few ideas:

  • Watch your favorite film/TV show
  • Go for a walk
  • Talk to trusted friend or a family member
  • Take a warm bath

This is the best time for you to experiment with different positions and breathing techniques for you to be as comfortable as possible.

It is possible to have pre-labor contractions and still not be in labor. This way the cervix undergoes the required changes before it starts to dilate – at which time the cervix moves from the back to the front. It is possible that these changes will make their presence known through cramps and contractions or you may not even notice them.

If your baby has his head down but his back to your back, it may take a longer time for the baby to engage and the labor to start. Your contractions may not be regular and you may have a strong backache. In such a situation, your doctor may advise you to take a dose of paracetamol or take a warm bath to get some natural pain relief. You may also try to get into an all-fours position, on your hands and knees, to get the pressure off your spine.