Are you at the point where people are picking up the phone saying “Is the baby coming?!” when you call?
It’s right around this time that there’s a slooow shift from you being perceived as a glowing woman that is creating life, into a fat husk that’s hoarding that adorable baby they all want to see.
Some people can actually start getting a little testy as if you’re not going into labour on purpose.
Very few women go into labour on their due date (fewer than 5%) so try not to do what I did and count down the days to your due date figuring that’s when the baby would get here because it rarely happens.
How do you know if you’re in labour though?
PASSING YOUR MUCUS PLUG
Ah yes, the mucus plug. Once again medical professions have outdone themselves with the most disgusting terminology they could come up with.
Essentially you’ve lost the seal that kept your cervix closed for the past nine months. It may come out as a lump or as increased discharge over a few days. The mucus may be tinted with red or brown, which is referred to as “bloody show”. Yep, bloody show.
I think we should refer to it as a baby cork and womb sealant.
No need to worry because it just means that the lid is off – labour could start in a couple of hours or even a couple of weeks. Just mention it to your medical practitioner when you see them next. Unless there’s blood, like real bright red bleeding, which could indicate issues with your placenta so shuffle off to hospital stat if you spot that.
Contractions are a good hint but Braxton Hicks contractions are always lurking to make you feel like a dummy for hitting the “show time” button. Try walking around if you have them though. Braxton Hicks contractions usually fade if you’re up and moving around versus sitting. Contractions also tend to get more intense with walking so that’s a good clue. If they start coming at regular intervals and increase in frequency, you’re probably ready to rock and roll. What you’re waiting for is 1-5-1, which is having contractions that are 1 minute long, every 5 minutes, for 1 hour. If you’re high risk your practitioner will probably want you in sooner.
You know how in movies a woman is always standing at a party while she delivers her “Oh my God, my water just broke” line accompanied by a gush of water? Well, this doesn’t happen to many women. In fact, most women are well into labour before their water breaks.
It is more likely to be a leak rather than a gush although those are sometimes hard to distinguish from sneaky urine and vaginal discharge, which are two other delightful side effects when you’re this pregnant. The easiest way to tell if you’re leaking amniotic fluid is to lie down. The fluid will pool in your vagina and come out when you stand up – pee and discharge won’t do that.
If you find you are leaking, pack yourself up and assume that you’ll be giving birth shortly. Once your water breaks you’ll either go into labour in the next 24 hours or your practitioner will start it for you.
Oh, if the fluid is green or brown call your doctor or midwife right away because that’s a sign that your baby may have pooped in utero and you don’t want the little monkey ingesting that.
Until that time though, I suggest you change your answering machine to “Hello, we can’t take your call right now, no, I’m not in labour, just not able to come to the phone. Leave a message and we’ll call you back later when I’m still not in labour.” Beep.