What are the warning signs of childbirth?

What are the warning signs of childbirth?

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What are the signs that will allow you to recognize the famous "baby-day", the day of delivery? We have listed 6 of them. The first 3 are in all obstetrics textbooks and should be taken very seriously. The other 3 are definitely more controversial!

1. The least glamorous: the loss of the mucous plug

  • The contractions, the loss of water ... You've all heard about it. On the other hand, the mucous plug is largely unknown ... Is it because of its so little poetic denomination that does not encourage us to pronounce with delight: "Honey, I just expel the mucous plug!"? However, the loss of this thick cervical mucus, sometimes tinged with blood, is a clue. What is it about ? As your pregnancy progresses, secretions from the cervix accumulate to form a "plug" that closes the cervical opening and protects the fetus from external germs. When your cervix begins to fade, it releases this protection, a sign that delivery is approaching. It may take place in a few hours or days, or even in some cases, a few weeks ... It is therefore useless to go to the maternity.
  • On the other hand, if you have a doubt about the nature of these losses, do not hesitate to talk to your midwife or your doctor.

2. The most rhythmic: contractions

  • In the cinema, when the heroine feels "the first pain of childbirth", she makes him understand by a little cry of surprise, then murmurs in a voice strangled by pain: "I think that's it!" minutes later, we find her, barely disheveled, with her baby in her arms.
  • In truth ... a childbirth does not always begin in such a stereotyped way: false alarms are numerous and between the first contractions and delivery, several hours pass. No need to go to maternity at the first contraction!
  • On average, it is considered that 8 to 9 hours are necessary to give birth to the first child and nearly 3 hours less for a second because the dilatation of the cervix is ​​faster. But, these are just statistics, and many factors can vary this duration.
  • In theory, the beginning of delivery is marked by the expulsion of the mucous plug (which may go unnoticed) and the appearance of "painful" uterine contractions which, by exerting their force from top to bottom, will progressively dilate the cervix. of the uterus to allow passage to the child.
  • What will you feel at first? Many women evoke pinching in the belly (sometimes also in the kidneys) more and more intense that can make think of the pain that sometimes accompanies the rules. If in addition to this pinching, you feel by putting your hand on your stomach that it hardens, it is good that the uterus is contracting.
  • These contractions occur every 10 minutes, are longer and longer, more intense and do not give in to rest? This means that the delivery is near. It's time to leave the house! However, if you have already had a first child, it is best to leave early at the maternity ward, when the contractions become regular and well paced. These painful and regular contractions are not comparable with others, painless, irregular and few (less than a dozen per day) that you may have already felt from the seventh month. These are characterized by a brief hardening of the uterine wall and do not have to worry you, just make you vigilant.

3. The most symbolic: the rupture of the water pocket

  • Under the effect of contractions, the baby descends into the pelvis. Gradually, the cervix fades (it shortens), then opens. It is at this point that some of the membranes surrounding your uterus will break to let the baby through the vagina and vulva that will continue to expand. This portion of the membranes and the amniotic fluid make up the "water pocket". Most often, it breaks spontaneously during work, when cervical dilation reaches 2 to 5 cm. This rupture is completely painless and has the effect of releasing the amniotic fluid that flows through the vagina.
  • Here again, two possibilities: if you suddenly find yourself flooded with a colorless and hot liquid, the situation is clear: you lose the waters, you must go to the maternity ward. It also happens that this pocket, instead of breaking open, crack before the first contractions causing a weak flow, less visible than the famous "jet" expected.
  • So be careful and, in case of doubt, do not hesitate to move to the maternity where a midwife will check that the water pocket is intact. As soon as it is broken or cracked, your baby is no longer protected against infections. That is why it is important to consult at the slightest doubt, without waiting for the occurrence of contractions.

4. The most popular: the sudden desire to clean up

  • We agree, you will rarely read this symptom in obstetrics textbooks and your gynecologist will surely not place the sudden urge to do housework, laundry or work among the signs that have to make you leave the room at once. maternity. Nevertheless, legend has it that the imminence of childbirth is accompanied by a frenetic desire to make a cake, wash the curtains, move the furniture and repaint the walls.
  • Possible explanation: this febrile agitation would, proportionately, be common to the family of mammals of which we are part. Thus, instinct would cause future mothers to build their burrow when they feel that the family is about to grow. Unless this phenomenon simply reflects a more or less conscious willingness to trigger childbirth thanks to this increased activity ...

5. The most astrological: it's the full moon!

  • This belief is so widespread that when D-Day approaches, it is not uncommon for pregnant women to be suddenly interested in the phases of the moon. And yet, several studies have been conducted on this subject by Quebec researchers from the register of births of two Montreal hospitals where more than three thousand births occurred over a period of sixteen months. Result: they found that there was no increase at the time of the full moon or during the days surrounding this period. On the other hand, other studies have shown more births during the periods between the last quarter and the new moon and fewer deliveries around the first quarter.
  • Nevertheless, the legends are stubborn and it would seem that when a maternity has a particularly busy day, the staff naturally concludes that "it must be the full moon" ... without checking whether it is indeed the case! That said, nothing prevents you from consulting the calendar or observing the sky, do we ever know ...

6. The most exotic: the temperature of your toes

  • According to an old Malaysian belief, to know if the delivery is near, the midwives touch the feet of the future mother. When the big toe becomes cold, it means that the heat of the body turns to the uterus, ready to work. When the ankles cool down, the birth is imminent! Should it be specified? Among the signs that should encourage you to take the path of motherhood, it will be very rarely alluded to the temperature of your toes. The real symptoms of the imminence of the event are more easily identifiable and especially less dependent on climatic factors ...
  • Are you afraid of feeling lost when the time comes? The best solution: the birth preparation classes at the maternity ward or with a liberal midwife. These sessions (reimbursed by Social Security) will allow you to identify without hesitation the first signs and to arrive confident at the maternity ... And to give birth in all serenity.

The arrival at the maternity

When you arrive at the maternity ward, at any time of the day or night, you will be supported by a midwife who will ask you about the date of the term, the number and frequency of contractions ... All questions which will enable him to evaluate the imminence of the birth. She will then examine you, measure the size of the uterus, palpate your belly, evaluate by a vaginal touch the stage of cervical dilatation. She will also take your blood pressure and monitor to assess the rhythm of uterine contractions for about thirty minutes and your baby's heart rate. At this stage, 4 possibilities:

  • The work has started well: you go to the birth room, with dad if you wish.
  • You are only at the very beginning of the work: either you go home for a few hours (depending on the intensity of the contractions and if the cervix is ​​dilated to less than two centimeters), or you will have the opportunity to wait in a "prepartum" room of the maternity ward, if for example you live far away.
  • You have lost the waters while contractions have not started: you will stay lying under medical supervision.
  • Your contractions are not "effective" and the cervix is ​​still closed? If there is no risk, you can go home. Above all, do not feel embarrassed that happens often. And, all the specialists will tell you: do not hesitate to go to the maternity hospital at the slightest doubt ... if only to hear you say that everything is fine and that you can go home!

Marie Auffret-Pericone, with the collaboration of Hélène de Gunzbourg, a liberal midwife.

© Enfant Magazine

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