Labor marks the culmination of your pregnancy. This is moment you have waited for-and you are prepared for the pain and pressure that comes with it. You have every reason to be anxious as well as excited. Yes, you’re going to see your baby soon! The little human being the you will bring into the world will share your life’s joy, and you’re willing to take any risk for him. Labor is divided into three stages. The pre-labor stage is when you feel short contractions of the cervix and there is an irregular yet not too painful contraction. The Second stage is when you are pushing the baby along the birth canal towards the end of your vagina. Delivery of the placenta completes your final labor stage. Pain in labor is similar to menstrual cramps. These are pains of contraction occurring in the cervix, which cause you to feel a terrible backache. The hardening and tightening of the uterine walls can occur for several seconds. The pain is fluctuating and you have no control when contractions will occur and how painful they will be. The only thing to can do to lessen the pain is to relax and breathe properly as instructed by the attending midwife or physician. Ultimately, your positive outlook will enable you to cope with stronger contractions. The length of labor varies but for the average woman who is having her first baby, it usually takes 12-14 hours. Hence, the lighter the contraction, the longer the labor time If contractions are longer, more painful and heavier, the labor time will be shorter.

As you pregnancy approaches the final stages, some changes may be felt several weeks before the actual labor takes place. But sometimes they begin just a few fays before labor. What are these changes?

1. BLEEDING – Because there are a lot of changes in side your body, an expulsion of vagina mucous discharge mixed with blood may occur. This happens because the small capillaries in your cervix are broken.

2. MUCUS DISCHARGE – A “mucus plug” is a thick substance that you will discharge before labor. It protects your uterus from infection. The plug may wash out as your cervix starts to thins in preparation for delivery.

3. BRAXTON-HICKS CONTRACTIONS INCREASE – Your uterus may become hard from time to time, which means that you are experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions. These are usually painless and they occur when you’re active. Sometimes these contractions may cause false alarm of false labor. Some women experience this king of pain several weeks before actual labor starts.

4. DROPPING OF THE BABY – This feeling is associated with the feeling of increased pressure in the vagina. The fetus often drops into the pelvis before labor and you will feel a sharp stinging pain in your vagina. Also, the uterus is lowered now and an added pressure is felt.

5. DIARRHEA – Your body produces prostaglandin to help the uterus contract; this may cause loose bowel movement.

6. EFFACEMENT OF THE CERVIX – A gradual thinning of the cervix in preparation for its opening. The mother cannot anticipate effacement; this may start weeks before labor.

7. DILATATION – Before actual labor starts, there is a gradual opening of the cervix, allowing the passage of the fetus.

8. GUSHING OUT OF FLUID – the amniotic sac (water bag) protecting the fetus inside the uterus erupts. This allows the baby to pass through. Hence, there is a gushing of fluid through the vagina. Sometimes amniotic fluid is confused with normal vaginal discharge and urine, which may also gush out as the bladder is pressed heavily during labor.

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