In those late weeks of pregnancy with all the aches and pains that go along with carrying a full term baby, the anticipation of finally getting to meet this little person you have been cradling inside for 9 months now, and the anxiety that comes along with not knowing what to expect from your labor and delivery can make the wait for your child’s birth day seem endless. Every little ache, every little twitch, every little pain that wasn’t there before makes you wonder if it is finally time, if your little one is about to make their appearance. We all spend those final weeks trying to patiently wait for those first early signs of labor.
The home stretch can seem endless, the wait unbearable, but don’t worry your baby will make their appearance eventually. You can’t rush nature, that baby will come when they are ready. As the final weeks and days of your pregnancy draw to a close there are a few early signs of labor that you can look for that can indicate your body is in the final stages of preparing for labor. Our bodies go through a lot during pregnancy and those finally weeks and days are no exception. Here are 5 signs that your body is getting ready for labor.
- The Braxton Hicks contractions that you have likely been experiencing for several months now will change. In the final days of your pregnancy you will likely notice an increase in both the frequency and the intensity of these contractions. Braxton Hicks are your body’s way of practicing for the real thing.
- You will likely lose your mucous plug. This can happy several weeks before your labor begins or only a day or so. Your body will start to expel the mucous plug when your cervix begins to change. Some women walk around for weeks at 1-2cms dilated.
- The baby “drops”. This is the term used when the baby moves further into the birth canal in preparation for the impending delivery. Sometimes this “drop” is obvious and you can see that you are carrying the baby lower than previously in your pregnancy. Sometimes the only thing you notice is increased pain and pressure in your pelvis.
- An increase in the pain and pressure in your pelvis and hips. During the final weeks and days of your pregnancy your pelvic region will begin to prepare for the delivery and this often makes you even more uncomfortable than before. Your hips and pelvis will begin to move and separate which results in increased pain and pressure.
- You may notice some digestive upset. Many women in the final days before labor experience vomiting, diarrhea and upset stomach. There are several cause for this digestive upset including changing hormones and added pressure on your stomach and intestines from the growing baby.
Last Thursday I was getting ready to post an update on here about my 38 week prenatal appointment but instead I had a baby!
Anna’s birth story really begins on the day of my 38 week appointment. I was still feeling really good, but having random contractions more frequently so I figured my body was probably getting ready for something but didn’t expect anything to happen in the near term.
My doctor and I had discussed the possibility of an induction during my 39th week as a means to have greater control over my delivery and help ensure the baby wasn’t too big given the tearing and related complications I had post-delivery with Maya. We decided at my appointment last week to go ahead and schedule it for July 19th. I was all set for that to be her birthday, I really didn’t think she would come earlier than that since when I was examined I was still only about 1.5 cms dilated and I wasn’t feeling like labor was eminent.
The next day, Wednesday, Maya and I had our regular play date with our best buds Heather and Claire. I was feeling good that day. We took the kiddos to the park and between carrying Maya back and forth to the bathroom and running up a hill to save her from the monkey bars by the time we headed home I was feeling really uncomfortable. My hips and pelvis were killing me. I still didn’t think anything of it because I remembered the pelvic pain and hip pain in the late days of my pregnancy with Maya as well. I figured I had just over done it and I would feel better in the morning.
I went to bed Wednesday night exhausted and very uncomfortable from the hip pain. Luckily the exhaustion won out and I was able to fall asleep easily. A couple of hours later, at midnight, I was awoken by a contraction (a definite real deal contraction). I fell back asleep only to be awoken again 10 minutes later. I dozed on and off for the next couple of hours with contractions steady at 10 mins apart. Then all of a sudden I woke up to a contraction and glanced at the clock only to discover it was only 5 mins since the last contraction. I convinced myself I misread the clock and closed my eyes again. Sure enough 5 mins later I woke up again to another contraction and there was no question the time frame had switched to every 5 mins.
I decided at that point to go ahead and get up and lay on the couch to time my contractions. I tried to doze off but the contractions were consistently coming every 5-6 minutes. After the first hour of that I convinced myself that I needed to keep timing them to make sure. I was trying to avoid waking up Lorne and Maya in the wee hours of the morning. So for another hour I timed my contractions only to find they were getting even closer together with contractions coming every 3-6 minutes.
So, at 4:00 am I decided it was definitely time and woke up Lorne. He figured something was up because he heard me up and walking around so I don’t think he was entirely surprised when I woke him and told him the game was on. I also called my friend Heather, who was going to be watching Maya for us, to give the heads up that I was on my way into the hospital and Lorne would be dropping Maya off with her within an hour or two, assuming I was admitted.
When I woke Maya and told her she had to get up because it was time for Mommy to have the baby she said “No” and rolled over. That happened twice before it dawned on her what I was actually saying. Once the thought settled in she became super excited and was ready to go. We loaded our bags in the car, which I had just hurriedly packed before waking up Maya because my plan was to pack our bags that day in preparation for my induction on Tuesday not thinking the baby would be arriving any earlier than that, and headed into the hospital.
It didn’t take long before they decided to admit me. My contractions were strong and frequent on the monitors and I was about 4 cms dilated. This was definitely the real deal. So, I got settled into a room and Lorne headed out to drop Maya off at Heather’s house.
I spent the hour or so that Lorne was gone bouncing on a birth ball to help get the baby engaged because when they first examined me they told me she was “bouncy” which meant she wasn’t yet well engaged. When Lorne got back my nurse came in and examined me and sure enough the ball had worked, the baby was way down and I had already progressed to 6-7 cms. They decided they would probably break my water shortly to get things moving along instead of hooking me up to Pitocin, so I decided to order my epidural before the contractions got too crazy.
Boy was getting my epidural a fun experience. The first time the anesthesiologist got the catheter into a vein. He worked it a bit hoping to get it out and did his test shot. My heart rate sky rocketed from 63 beats per minutes to 102 beats per minute in about 30 seconds and I was extremely light headed as a result. It was obvious his manipulation hadn’t worked so he pulled it out and had to start again. Lucky me! The second one got into the right spot and the test shot didn’t affect my heart rate so we were good to go. I started to feel some relief immediately.
Shortly after my epidural was in place my nurse examined me and my water broke during the exam. Things progressed quickly from there. Unfortunately I also started to get some feeling back. During the roughest phase of my labor when I was getting double dip contractions every minute or so I could feel EVERYTHING. I was in a lot of pain and the anesthesiologist had to come back in and up the dose along with giving me a booster shot for some immediate pain relief. He told me it was take about 10-15 minutes to kick in and boy were those the longest 15 minutes of my life considering I had at least a dozen or more contractions in that time frame.
Shortly after the epidural started working a bit better I started feeling a lot of pressure. My nurse examined me and sure enough I was completely dilated and the baby was right there. She called my doctor and told me he would be there in about 15 minutes, this was at around 11am. I thought the previous 15 minutes took forever to pass, they had nothing on these 15 minutes. The pressure was so intense. I got to the point where I didn’t think I couldn’t not push and the nurse said she would get the house doc to stand by in case my doctor didn’t show up in the next couple of minutes. About a minute later he walked through the door and we got the show on the road.
I pushed for about 10 minutes and the baby was out. Unfortunately that boost in my epidural was not very effective so I felt a lot of pain and burning during the actual delivery. That was not fun. But the end result was all worth it.
Anna Lily was born on July 14th, 2011 at 11:26am weighing 6lbs 4oz and is 20in long. She has a full head of dark hair, and big gorgeous dark eyes.
Even with her being super tiny I still tore. I tore internally in the exact same spot that I did with Maya as well as a 2nd degree perineum tear. Luckily, this time around my swelling was minimal so my doctor was able to get things stitched up much better and there is no indication that I will have any of the post delivery complications that I had as a result of my tearing with Maya’s delivery.
Anna and I spent the first hour of her life skin to skin. It was an incredible experience and I just stared at her and marveled at how adorable and tiny she is. She looks a lot like her big sister Maya did when she was born with a few of her own individual traits thrown in.
She is a tiny little thing, such a little peanut. She is a calm, relaxed, laid back baby so far. We love her so much and are having so much fun getting to know her. She completes our family perfectly.
Labor inductions are much more common nowadays than they used to be. Today approximately 1 in 5 births are induced, about double what it was just 20 years ago. While most labor inductions are medically necessary and increasing number are done electively. So what is labor induction?
Labor inductions are done when your body does not naturally go into labor so your doctor decides to artificially start your labor. Sometimes medication like Pitocin is used to fool your body into thinking it is in labor so contractions will begin and your cervix will begin to dilate, other times your doctor will use techniques such as stripping the membranes or rupturing your membranes to trigger labor to start.
There are many reasons that your doctor and you may decide that inducing your labor is necessary, they include:
- When a pregnancy has lasted more than 42 weeks and labor has not started naturally on its own. The placenta usually stops functions after 42 weeks so it is no longer safe for the pregnancy to continue.
- Your pregnancy has resulted in high blood pressure and your blood pressure is getting too high and the doctor feels continuing the pregnancy is no longer safe for you or the baby.
- You have an infection in your uterus.
- Your water has broken but contractions have not begun.
- There is a growth problem with the baby.
- You have a pregnancy complication such as gestational diabetes.
- There is some other risk to the mother or the baby if the pregnancy is continued.
Most labor inductions go smoothly and the baby is delivered complication free through a normal vaginal delivery. However, with induced labor there is an increased risk of a prolonged, difficult labor that can lead to complications and the need for a caesarean delivery. Your risk is highest if this is your first baby and you are not full term yet.
Inducing labor is not without its risks and should be considered only if medically necessary. There are sometimes stories out there about women who request that their labor be induced if they have not delivered by a certain date because of other events they do not want to miss or interrupt. Babies will come on their own time and if there is no medically necessary need for your labor to be induced it is always safer and better to let your body start labor naturally on its own when your baby is ready to be born.
The rise in induced labors is a contributing factor in the continuing rise in c-sections. C-sections account for nearly 30% of all births here in the United States. Induced labors are also contributing to the rise of late pre-term births, babies born between 34-36 weeks. Though these babies are often born healthy there is the risk for breathing problems, added breastfeeding difficulty, digestive issues and more when a baby is born pre-term.
If your doctor is recommending a labor induction be sure to get all facts including why it is necessary, what you can expect, and what you should do before the induction to be prepared.
The world of mommy bloggers is full of heartwarming, heart wrenching and heart breaking stories. Reading through the blogs of my fellow members of this amazing community to which I belong I often find myself laughing and crying for people I don’t even really know. I find myself smiling at the faces of adorable children whom I’ll probably never meet. I find myself learning new things every day from these amazing fellow bloggers. Occasionally I stumble upon a story that just simply breaks my heart. That is what happened a few weeks ago when I first heard about Cora from a friend on Twitter. I read Cora’s story and cried for this tiny little person who was taken from this world and the arms of her parents far too soon. I cried for her parents as they suffered through this unimaginable loss. All I wanted to do was wrap my arms around Cora’s mom and cry with her.
Cora died at 5 days old from Congential Heart Disease (CHD) in the arms of her mom while she was breastfeeding. Her parents brought her home from the hospital thinking she was in perfect health. The doctors and nurses told them she was in perfect health and there was no indication that anything was wrong with her. Congential Heart Disease is a type of heart defect that affects approximate 1 in 100 babies. Cora’s parents didn’t know she had CHD. It wasn’t detected during the routine ultrasounds during her pregnancy and since she appeared to be in perfect health there was no reason for additional testing after her birth. There is one test that could have been done that may have saved Cora’s life and that is a pulse oximetry test. A pulse oximetry test is a non-invasive screening test that measures the oxygen saturation in the blood stream. Pulse oximetry tests on newborns are not standard procedure at most hospitals and so one was not done on Cora. One simple test.
During CHD awareness week Cora’s mom is encouraging everyone to become educated on congenital heart disease, spread the word about pulse oximetry tests so that more infants are tested before leaving the hospital and to spread the word about her precious little Cora. So let’s help Cora’s mom in her crusade to save the lives of babies. Visit The Children’s Heart Foundation and find out more about this silent killer and what you can do to help ensure that no baby goes home before being tested for CHD.
Kristine, you are a true inspiration and I’m happy to do what I can to spread the word on Cora’s story and help you in your fight to save the lives of babies born with CHD.
I came across this article yesterday regarding an ethical dilemma that researchers are finding themselves in surrounding the use of left over blood from newborn screening tests. At question is whether or not researchers should be allowed to use the blood samples left over from newborn screenings as a research tool without written consent from the parents. Currently, most states allow these blood samples to be banked and used in research. All the identifying information is stripped from the sample and there is no real way for the information gleaned from the research to be traced back to the original person. However, parents are up in arms about this and have taken the issue before the courts in several states, arguing that it violates their child’s privacy and puts their child’s genetic information out there for anyone to find. Courts in several states, including Texas and Michigan, have agreed with the parents and forced millions of leftover samples to be thrown out and have developed a consent form so that parents have the option to opt-out if they do not wish to have their child’s sample stored and used for future research.
Although I see the point the parents are making about the privacy concerns, I think the benefits of this program far outweigh the risks, especially since the there is no identifying information attached to the samples once it is banked. Newborn screening tests are vital for identifying potentially life threatening illnesses and conditions. Through these screening tests doctors are able to identify illnesses and treat them right away in order to save a life, when before these screening tests were routinely done the child would likely have died. My fear, and the fear of many, is that this current uproar will result in parents opting out of getting the screenings done all together and will result in too many babies leaving the hospital with potentially life threatening illnesses and conditions. Also, the additional research done on the left over samples is essential to developing new screening tests, learn more about the illnesses and conditions we currently screen for and identify new conditions and illnesses that need to be added to the screening. Our babies lives depend on this research.
I think what states, doctors and researchers need to do is to educate the public on the importance of these screening tests and the importance of the additional research being done on the left over samples. Probably every state will need to develop a consent form and give parents the option to opt-out of the program as some parents just won’t be comfortable knowing their child’s left over blood sample is being used. However, I think most parents, if comfortable in the knowledge that their child’s information is stripped from the sample before it leaves the hospital, will opt-in to the banking program and researchers will be able to continue the research that allows for groundbreaking, life saving discoveries.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think it okay to use the left over samples for research? Do you think there should be a consent form developed? Would you opt in or out if given the choice?