Birth Signs

Around the ninth month, a pregnant woman is waiting for birth signs that will signal the arrival of the new addition to her family. While a very anxious mother-to-be might be likely to be alert for every slight twinge of discomfort as birth signs, others might not realize they are actually in labor until it is time to get in the car and go to the hospital or to call the midwife. Birth signs can be clear or obscure can occur quickly or slowly.

Some symptoms of the ninth months, such as Braxton-Hicks contractions, may be interpreted as birth signs, but are actually a part of the pregnancy. Many women at this time wonder whether what they are experiencing are cramp like Braxton-Hicks contractions or actual labor. Among many birth signs is that real contractions become more intense and occur closer together. Braxton-Hicks contractions do not become more painful and closer together. Once a woman has contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting one minute and has experienced this for about an hour, she can be considered to be in labor.

There are many other birth signs, but their appearance does not indicate that labor is happening at that moment. There may be a delay of a few weeks or a few days, and even some of these birth signs can occur a few hours before labor or during labor itself. In addition to more rapid Braxton-Hicks contractions, a woman may feel the baby "drop" lower down. This is usually experienced as increased pressure on the pelvis. A woman might notice a mucus plug or a "bloody show." This plug has been in the cervix since the beginning of the pregnancy and is released before labor. Other birth signs include breaking water, which occurs when water in the amniotic sac leaks. However, this rarely occurs before labor has begun, and is one of the later birth signs.

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