What are the signs that labour is imminent?

What are the signs of labour will start soon?

In the last few weeks and days of pregnancy, there are several signs which indicate that your baby is getting ready to be born:

Most babies are born head first. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, the baby will drop further down into your pelvis (called “being engaged”). You will feel more pressure in the lowest part of your stomach and pelvis and may feel you have a little more room to breathe.

You may experience an increase in vaginal mucus and will feel quite “wet”

Your body may release the mucus plug from your cervix (sometimes called a “show”), which has protected the uterus from infection during pregnancy. It will be pinkish in colour and may have a little blood. This release can continue over a few days and indeed throughout the birth.

You may have a runny bowel movement. The digestive system uses up a great deal of energy and so, as labour is about to start, the body does not want to worry about digesting food. As a result you naturally expel any waste product from the body, which also helps to make more room for the baby to be born.

Your blood pressure may go up a bit – this is a sign that your body is getting on with things behind the scenes.

“Waters breaking” – this is a strange term used to denote the rupture of the membrane holding the baby and amniotic fluid in. This can release a little or a lot of the fluid. However, it is important to remember that your body will continue to produce amniotic fluid, so there is no worry that the baby will go “dry”.

Practice contractions – for weeks leading up to the birth of the baby, your uterus will be having lots of practice or warm-up contractions (Braxton Hicks). These are helping the muscle fibres of the uterus to tone and the cervix to soften and get ready to open. Many women confuse Braxton Hicks for real contractions and often wonder if they are actually in labour or not.

Nesting -In some cultures special areas are actually built for women called “nesting houses”. This is that feeling that you just want to stay put, but at the same time you have an urge to get busy - you may want to tidy the house, scrub floors, re organise the babies room.