First signs of delivery. The delivery period starts when the uterus changes due to contraction of the uterus. The cervix expires and opens up. The birth really starts when there are regular contractions. The birth is over when the child and after birth are born with membranes.
When can you expect the birth to start?
From a gestation period of 37 weeks, there is a full-term pregnancy. The probable delivery date is calculated based on the first day of the last menstrual period or on the basis of an early ultrasound. Only 4.5% of pregnant women give birth on this calculated date.
On-time In midwifery delivery is ‘on time’ from three weeks before to two weeks after the due date. Most births take place during this five-week period. One child is more likely to be born than the other.
Too early, However, you can give birth before 37 weeks, but then the baby is too early
Overtime After 42 weeks the baby is overtime.
How does the start of the birth announce itself?
The birth can announce itself in different ways:
- the onset of contractions
- breaking the membranes
- mild vaginal, often slimy bleeding
How do you know if the birth has started? First signs of delivery
Regular contractions The birth started when there are regular contractions. The contractions then come for at least an hour every three to four minutes. The contractions increase in frequency, strength, and duration.
Hard bellies and contractions Earlier in pregnancy, there are other contractions of the womb that may resemble contractions. It concerns the Braxton-Hicks contractions, or the hard bellies and the contractions.
The doctor John Braxton Hicks described in 1872 that during the entire pregnancy there are some contractions of the womb per day.
You can view these contractions, also called contractions, as exercises of the womb. They probably play a role in stretching the womb, so that part of the cervix can be used as extra space for the growing baby. These contractions do not lead to the opening of the cervix.
The abovementioned contractions are called ‘Braxton-Hicks contractions’. Your belly feels hard. That is why it is also referred to as ‘hard bellies’. They often last longer than real contractions, sometimes up to a few minutes. Hard bellies can occur during the entire pregnancy.
When can hard bellies occur?
- when stooping
- when suddenly standing up
- when you have been busy
- with a full bladder
- after an orgasm
- the child can be the cause of a hard abdomen, if it turns around or if it has a growth spurt that causes the uterus to stretch quickly
A hard abdomen can be uncomfortable or sometimes a bit painful, but there are also pregnant women who suffer little from it.
In the final weeks of pregnancy, the hard bellies increase and become more painful. These contractions of the womb are called “contractions.” It is not entirely clear what determines the transition from the pre-contractions to the real contractions. Prone contractions are more painful than hard bellies. They can perform a few weeks before the due date. You may experience more problems in the last days before delivery. First signs of delivery
Pre-contractions can sometimes last a few hours every three minutes and then stay away again. It may also be that these contractions do not come regularly every three minutes but, for example, every 3-8-7-5-6 minutes. The characteristic of contractions is that they do not get worse and will no longer last. Contractions last thirty to forty seconds and usually occur at night.
What do contractions do? You can see pre-labor as a preparation for the approaching birth. The womb and cervix are being prepared. The head will also be pushed deeper into the pelvis. For contractions do not open up the cervix. The cervix does undergo a major change. Outside of pregnancy, it is cone-shaped and at least as long as the top of the thumb.
The contractions ensure that the ‘finger’s foot’ becomes smaller and very soft. At the end of this softening process, the midwife feels a cervix that feels like totally relaxed lips. Especially with a second or third child, you may have longer contractions.
What is the best way to cope with contractions? For example, you can lie down on your side with a pillow between your legs. Here you breathe in deeply through your nose while trying to inflate your belly. The baby then gets more space, as it were. Secure your breath for a few seconds and slowly blow out the air again while saying the letter ‘F’.
The pre-labor pains change to the ‘real’ labor pains. For women who already have children, it is difficult to describe how a contraction feels and what pain they have experienced. The worst pain is soon forgotten after the birth.
How do you recognize contractions?
A woe has a run-in, a peak, and a run-out. If the contraction is just beginning, the pain is well tolerated. At the peak, the pressure on the cervix is greatest and with that the pain is the most severe. Fortunately, the peak lasts short enough to be able to tolerate the pain well. After that, the strength of the contraction decreases again, and you get a moment’s rest.
A strong contraction lasts on average about one and a half minutes from the beginning to the end. The duration and strength of the woe are more important than the frequency. When the contractions come regularly, the cervix will gradually open. With regular is meant every five minutes and not once every ten minutes and then again every five minutes. As the opening progresses, contractions will come every four or three minutes. But the duration and strength of the contractions are the most important.
What makes a contraction so painful? A contraction causes a large stretch of the cervix. This is, as it were, pulled open, this stretching is responsible for part of the pain. The straps with which the uterus is suspended from the pelvis are also pulled. This causes pain in the groins, above the pubic bone, in the lower back and in the tailbone.
Sometimes the pain even extends to the thighs. One speaks of ‘leg pains’. During a contraction, the head is also driven into the pelvis; this can cause a nasty bone pain deep inside the pelvis.
How can a woe be compared? Webs can be compared to climbing a high, steep mountain. At the start of the climb, everything is still fairly easy, but when the summit is almost reached, the effort is huge. Descending takes less effort than rising.
How do you know if the membranes are broken?
The baby is safely stored in the womb in a sealed fruit bag and is surrounded by amniotic fluid.
Breaking the webs The non-fertile webs can break before there are contractions. People often say that amniotic fluid ‘breaks’. In reality, the amniotic fluid does not break, but it is the membranes that break.
The breaking of the membranes is painless. One in ten births starts with breaking the membranes. Some pregnant women suddenly lose a lot of amniotic fluid; they feel a wave of warm water flowing. However, you may also lose the amniotic fluid drop by drop.
How can you check whether the fluid you lose is amniotic fluid? In some cases it is difficult to distinguish amniotic fluid from urine and / or vaginal discharge.
A number of typical characteristics of amniotic fluid are:
- amniotic fluid is colorless
- amniotic fluid smells a bit sweet usually you see whitish flakes in amniotic fluid; these are called vernix flakes.
Vernix is whitish skin lubricant from baby skin. For example, you can find vernix flakes in pubic hair.
A number of typical characteristics of urine are:
- urine is yellow
- urine has a typical odor
A number of typical characteristics of vaginal discharge are:
- secretion in the last weeks of pregnancy is watery and can run along your legs in the morning
- secretion has the color of milk secretion smells acidic and somewhat bready
If you have any doubts about the nature of the fluid you lose, you can put a sanitary napkin in your underwear and assess what has entered the sanitary napkin during the day.
If in doubt, however, it is best to contact the obstetric care provider (obstetrician, general practitioner, gynecologist). You can then show her or him the sanitary napkin.
What do you do if you lose amniotic fluid?
The obstetrician or gynecologist will usually have given instructions on what to do when breaking the membranes. You have often been asked to call when the membranes are clearly broken. It is advisable to protect your mattress from four to six weeks before the due date. After all, you cannot know whether you will be surprised by a wave of amniotic fluid.
When to call the midwife, doctor or hospital?
In the following cases we advise you to contact your midwife directly:
- if the amniotic fluid is not colorless, but green or red. Green amniotic fluid means that the baby has pooped. This could possibly indicate that the baby has been stuffy or has been stuffy. Red amniotic fluid indicates blood in amniotic fluid. Fortunately, this is not common
- if the midwife said during the last check that the head had not yet descended into the pelvis. In such a case you are told what the best thing is to do now that the membranes are broken
General guidelines for calling the midwife:
- if the membranes are broken. If this happens at night, you can wait until the following morning. This applies if the baby’s head was lowered during the last pregnancy check and if the amniotic fluid is not green or red
- if you suddenly lose a lot of blood
- if you have contractions for one or two hours, every three or four minutes. This applies to your first child. If you give birth to the next child, then it may be better to call earlier.
- if you have a press drive
- if you have cramps, contractions, a lot of fluid loss or blood loss before you are 37 weeks pregnant. This is more than three weeks before the due date
- if you want to know where you stand
In the case of hospital birth, you will usually have to go to the hospital.
If you want to give birth at home, the midwife or doctor may visit you. Sometimes the midwife will stay for a while to help you through a difficult period.
It may also be that the contractions suddenly follow each other so quickly that the midwife decides not to leave.