What do you do when labour starts and you did not expect it

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Even from the first moment that you saw those two little lines on your pregnancy test that confirmed you pregnancy, you rushed to your doctor and he approximated the date of birth. But some babies simply do not want to follow the rules and make themselves present when you least expect it. So, it is possible to throw out the window all your plans for the moment of birth, if the baby decides to arrive earlier than you and your doctor have established. 

Here are some advice and information on how to deal with it, if your last days of pregnancy take different from what you expected.

6 signs that show that labour have started

Preparing the nest

The sudden need to clean and decorate is the earliest symptom of labour for most women in their last trimester of the pregnancy. This need to set up the “nest” for the baby helps you keep a positive and calm state of mind, but make sure that you do not overreact; you will need your energy for the delivery: even if you will choose to deliver naturally or by C-section!

preparing baby room

The need to urinate

If you feel pressure in your pelvis, it is probably because the baby has come down and the cervix is getting ready for the delivery. Also, another sign is the urgent need to pee and suddenly, after during the entire pregnancy you suffered from heavy breathing, especially in the last months, you regain the ability to breathe easily. This is happening because the baby turns its head down and its legs don’t press on your diaphragm so that you can breathe normal.

Modifications of the cervix

As the due date arrives, the cervix will start to dilate to make room for the baby to come out. The final result is 10 cm, but the process may start with a few weeks, days or hours before the moment of birth. The only way to really know if it has started to dilate is to have periodic checks during the last weeks of your pregnancy and the doctor that monitors you will give this precious information.

Progressive contractions: mild to moderate contractions

In the last days of your pregnancy it is possible to feel some mild contractions. It is also possible to feel contractions even a few weeks before the big day. Usually, these contractions are known as “false labour”. In most cases, the labour starts by mild contractions that rise in intensity as the due date approaches. The contractions or cramps that you feel in your lower abdomen can be accompanied by back pains, pressure in your pelvis and they will not reduce their intensity even if you change the position of your body. The labour starts with regular contractions at 7 – 30 minutes intervals, lasting 30- 40 seconds  and towards the end of the labour they will occur at 1-2 minutes intervals lasting 60 -90 seconds
The rupture of the membranes or the well known expression “ my water broke”
The rupture of the membranes or the popular expression “my water broke” is one of the parts of the labour that only few women go through  before arriving at the hospital. Leaking of the amniotic fluid can happen progressively, starting from a few drops to massive discharge. It depends very much on the position of the baby, but also the position of the mother during labour. The only time when you need to get worried is when the amniotic fluid is not clear or odourless. If you feel a strange smell or the fluid has an abnormal colour, you must call your doctor immediately.

Pregnant Asian Woman at home with cramp leg. Woman health concept.
Pregnant Asian Woman at home with cramp leg. Woman health concept.

What do you do when labour starts unexpectedly

Call the ambulance and the doctor who monitored your pregnancy

It is recommended for you, dear future mother that in these last few days of pregnancy to rest as much as you can in order to have sufficient energy to cope with long hours of the labour. Once the signs that we have already mentioned start and the contractions appear once every five minutes, take you maternity bag and rush to the hospital, soon you will be a mother. But if the little one is eager to come out call the ambulance and announce in what state are you in. The doctor on call will assist you by phone, giving advice until the ambulance arrives. If your partner is not with you, think of a person that can be there for you, it does not matter if it is  a neighbour or a friend  because you will need support.

Keep your calm and breathe regularly

The first thing that you should do, no matter how hard it will be and how alarmed you may get, is to keep your calm and breathe. Find a comfortable position in which you can breathe easily or at least in which you can pant. Ask the person that is with you to wash his or her hands and to bring you clean towels. In some cases, the baby comes out really fast and you may need several bowls with warm water that you will use them to clean the baby and yourself.

Try not to push

If the baby starts to come out, you will reach a point when the need to push cannot be controlled. Do not try to keep the baby inside by clamping you legs or pushing with your hands, you will hurt you baby. It is better to let mother nature do its thing. You will probably feel o sting or a burning sensation as the baby comes out through the vagina. Breathe, as often as you can. If you push to fast you may tear your perineum.

If the umbilical cord is tied around the baby’s neck, your partner or the person that assists you has to grab gently the cord and move it slowly over the baby’s head. If this does not work, lift the umbilical cord high enough so that the baby can go through it. Be extremely cautious when handling the umbilical cord. If it is pinched, pulled or twisted it can stop the oxygen to reach the baby. The baby will probably come out with its head down, than it will turn towards the right or the left. It is possible that you may ned two contractions to deliver your baby – one for the head and the second for the body. The person that assists you must take into consideration that baby can be really slippery, so he or she has to be very careful when holding the baby!

First aid when the delivery does not occur in a hospital

If the head of the baby is out, the person that assists you has to clean the baby’s eyes, starting from the interior towards the exterior- each eye with a different towel. If the baby’s face is covered by a membrane, he or she will remove it so that the baby can breathe. The baby will take its first breath and it will probably cry. If the baby does not cry, it must be placed on its tummy. Gently massage its back and talk to the baby. This will help eliminate the mucus. The baby’s blood pressure will change and it will start to breathe. Do not cut the umbilical cord. Leave attached to the bay and professional medical help arrive.

Hold the baby in your arms immediately after the delivery and try to breastfeed him. Breastfeeding will lead to the release of oxytocin and it will help the uterus to constrict, thus being able to eliminate the placenta. If the baby does not want to suck, stimulate your nipples to produce oxytocine. It is important to keep the baby warm so the best way to do this is skin to skin contact. Use clean sheets to cover you baby.

Did you baby arrive when you expected or it took you by surprise?

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