- Loss of the mucus plug
- Loss of water
- Contractions: a sign of imminent departure?
- Other warning signs
- And waiting for the first signs
Loss of the mucus plug
The mucous plug is a gelatinous mass of mucus blocking the cervix and which protects the baby from bacteria that may be present in the vagina. Completely painless , it is not always easy to identify, mixing with heavy vaginal secretions in pregnant women. While some women lose it all at once, for others it can happen over several days.
Contrary to popular belief, you can lose it several days before giving birth, so there is no need to worry. On the other hand, if the loss of the mucous plug occurs at the same time as the loss of water or close contractions, head to the maternity ward!
Loss of water
Although impressive, the loss of water does not necessarily mean urgency! When the bag of water breaks (giving way to a rather abundant liquid, but completely colorless and painless), it is indeed a sign that it is time to go to the maternity ward . But make no mistake, contrary to what we see in the movies, just because the sac is ruptured doesn't mean you're going to give birth in a minute! If you don't have contractions, there's no need to rush and go to the maternity ward peacefully.
However, be careful of the opposite: the loss of water is not a “mandatory” criterion before giving birth. Just because it isn't broken doesn't mean work can't begin! If other symptoms are indeed present, it may be time to leave.
Contractions: a sign of imminent departure?
Contractions: how to differentiate “real” from “false”?
During a first delivery, it is not easy to know how to differentiate the “usual” contractions, which you have at different times during your pregnancy, from those which announce the imminent arrival of your baby. Don't worry, you will surely feel the difference! In fact, unlike the contractions you experience in recent weeks, these called “uterine contractions” are more intense and spread more towards the back . When you have identified them, it is time to apply the recommendations received during the birth preparation classes: breathe as you have learned and find the position that is most comfortable for you. Don't panic, just because the first contractions have started doesn't mean that baby will immediately show up! Indeed, during the first childbirth, it takes between 8 and 10 hours of labor on average (this can even go up to more) and 7 hours on average for a woman who has already given birth.
Close contractions: it's time to go!
To identify the “first” contractions announcing the start of labor, you will need to have a timer or an application on your smartphone! Contractions can last several hours, but when they are only 5 minutes apart, that is to say 5 minutes elapsed between the end of the first contraction and the start of the second, it is now that we have to leave! For a second child, the mother is advised not to wait 5 minutes and to leave for the maternity ward when the contractions are 10 minutes apart.
Please note: for births requiring different monitoring such as those by cesarean section or multiple births, it is generally advisable to go to the maternity ward earlier. Of course, your doctor or midwife will notify you in advance.
Other warning signs
In addition to these main manifestations, other symptoms announcing the arrival of a baby are possible. Intestinal upsets like diarrhea or vomiting may be a sign. In general, if you experience unusual symptoms even several days before your due date, do not hesitate to contact the maternity ward. The medical team will be able to tell you whether these signs indicate that the time has come to give birth, or not! For any other questions, remember that midwives are also there to advise and reassure you, so do not hesitate to contact yours if you feel the need.
And waiting for the first signs
While patiently waiting for the first signs to appear, take some time for yourself. It's time to pamper your baby bump. And also, start organizing your maternity suitcase for the delivery room, but also for afterwards. Toiletry bag, towels, bodysuits, pajamas... To make sure you don't forget anything, you can find a very complete list of what you need to have when going to the maternity ward. So remember to put all your belongings aside so you can leave with peace of mind at any time!
And besides, why not slip the Mama Self-Love Box from Daylily into your suitcase: L'Huile Sensorielle and Le Baume Onctueux will be your allies after the baby arrives.
Finally, rest assured, babies very rarely come as a surprise without warning! Trust yourself and don't doubt yourself. You will know how to recognize these signs!
Photo credit: Camille Corlouer