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Ask the midwife: What are the signs that labour is near?

We asked Midwife Hannah to answer this question for us. Hannah said: As the anticipated due date approaches, many expectant mothers eagerly await the signs that labour is near, signalling the impending arrival of their baby. While every pregnancy is unique, there are several common indicators that labour may be imminent. Understanding these signs can help mothers-to-be feel more prepared and confident as they navigate the final stages of pregnancy.

One of the earliest signs that labour may be approaching is the onset of labour contractions. These contractions are typically irregular and less intense than true labour contractions but can become more frequent and intense as labour draws nearer.

Another sign is the "bloody show," which occurs when the mucus plug that seals the cervix during pregnancy is expelled. This can result in a pink or blood-tinged discharge and often indicates that the cervix is beginning to soften and dilate in preparation for childbirth.

As labour approaches, some women may experience a "nesting instinct," characterised by sudden bursts of energy and a strong desire to clean, organize, or prepare the home for the baby's arrival. While not all women experience this phenomenon, it is a common occurrence in the days leading up to labour.

Additionally, many women notice changes in their body in the days preceding labour, such as increased pelvic pressure, backache, or gastrointestinal disturbances. Some may also experience a "lightening" sensation as the baby drops lower into the pelvis, relieving pressure on the diaphragm and making it easier to breathe.

While these signs can provide valuable clues that labour is approaching, it's essential to remember that every pregnancy is different, and not all women will experience the same symptoms. If you have any concerns or questions about the signs of labou

r, don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance and reassurance. By staying informed and attentive to your body's signals, you can approach the final weeks of pregnancy with confidence and readiness for the miraculous journey of childbirth.

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