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10 Signs of Nearing Labour

12/08/2020 8:52 PM

If the movies spoke truly to labour, preparing to deliver would combine a straightforward sequence of waters breaking, painful contractions and an impossibly clean baby placed on your chest – not to mention an instant recovery! While waters breaking and contractions are often part of the lead up to giving birth, here are some of the less obvious signs that labour is approaching and it’s soon time to meet your baby!

  • The mucous plug. Also referred to as ‘the show’, the mucous plug resembles a thick blob of mucous that passes as the cervix starts to dilate in preparation for delivery. The mucous plug collects throughout your pregnancy in the cervical canal. While it’s about as pleasant it sounds, it actually acts as a barrier to prevent unwanted bacteria and other sources of infection from travelling into the uterus.
  • Your baby ‘drops’. Medically known as ‘lightening’, your baby descends into the pelvis generally a few weeks before labour begins. While you might be taking even more trips to the bathroom as the baby’s head pushes on your bladder, you will also have a little extra breathing room!
  • Your cervix dilates. In the days or weeks before delivery, your cervix begins to dilate (open) and efface (thin out), which is detected by your doctor during a pelvic examination.
  • Cramps and back pain. As your muscles and joints shift and stretch in preparation for delivery, you may feel some cramping and pain in your lower back and pelvic region.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions. Sometimes referred to as ‘false labour’, Braxton-Hicks contractions usually occur towards the end of your pregnancy (sometimes earlier). They typically resemble a tightening or hardening sensation across the belly that do not occur at regular intervals.
  • Loose bowels or diarrhoea. Alongside the muscles in your uterus, those in your rectum also begin to relax in preparation for birth. While this is natural (and annoying), remember to stay hydrated!
  • Changes in vaginal discharge. You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge, as well as changes in consistency and colour that could appear anywhere from brownish to pinkish.
  • Sudden nesting urge. Some women experience a burst of energy that drives them to clean and organise everything in sight in preparation for bringing baby home. While this is natural, be sure not to overdo it!
  • Fatigue. Conversely, as discomfort and sleep disturbances increase, you may feel an intense exhaustion as you approach the final stages. Be sure to pile up on pillows and take naps wherever possible.
  • Waters breaking. Rupture of the amniotic sac will lead to the release or leakage of fluid. This is typically not a dramatic gush, but rather a trickle or slow dripping. Despite how often this is portrayed in films (in the middle of a restaurant or supermarket aisle), many women don’t actually experience this until they are well-progressed into labour. So, don’t count on your waters breaking as a sure sign of nearing labour!

When approaching the final stages of your pregnancy, remember that everyone’s experience is different, so don’t worry if you ‘miss out’ on one or more of these symptoms. If you have any concerns or questions about your pregnancy or labour, always direct them to your doctor or midwife. And remember, though these signs and symptoms may be uncomfortable and irritating, they each serve a positive purpose that will bring you closer to meeting your baby!

Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting

Whether your body aches are boundless, you’ve been riddled with insomnia or your partner’s snoring could overshadow a 36-piece orchestra, sleep doesn’t tend to come as easy or be as restful when you’re pregnant. Ironically, your body needs it now more than ever. So, what can you do to help yourself rest easier at night and enhance the quality of your sleep?

During pregnancy, your body needs as much shut-eye as it can get. Not only is your body working twice as hard to nurture the growing foetus, but you’re also preparing for labour, the aftermath and the demands of caring for your newborn. Though your sleep tends to be lighter and less refreshing when you’re pregnant, it’s vital to try and get as much sleep as possible before your little one arrives.

 

Develop a relaxing bedtime routine

By establishing a soothing bedtime routine, you can help your body understand when it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep. Before the clock strikes bedtime, try a few relaxing rituals to determine which suit you best:

  • Drink a warm cup of milk with honey or a small cup of caffeine-free tea.
  • If you feel peckish, have a light snack, like a handful of nuts or a few crackers.
  • Read a chapter or a few pages of a book.
  • Take a warm shower to soothe any aching muscles and loosen up stiffness.
  • Ask your partner for a gentle massage to help relax your body.

 

Avoid electronics at least an hour before bed

Exposure to blue light can drastically affect your body’s ability to fall asleep. Looking at your phone, laptop or TV screen before bed can fool your body into thinking it’s daytime by suppressing the release of the body’s sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, which can then interfere with your natural internal clock. While you might feel inclined to go reading about pregnancy symptoms or worse, scary labour stories, avoid picking up electronics for at least one hour before lights out to help prepare your brain and body for sleep.

 

Time your dinner

Though tempting, steer clear of those late-night dinners and midnight fridge-rummages. Too much food too close to bedtime can increase your body temperature and forces your stomach to digest instead of slowing down, which can significantly disrupt your sleep. Eat a healthy, filling dinner early in the evening to prevent those late-night cravings and 2am hunger pains. If you feel peckish later on, indulge in a light snack an hour or two before settling down, so your body has time to digest before bed.

 

Be active during the day

Exercise is an excellent way to help you sleep more deeply when pregnant. So long as your doctor or medical professional approves, simple activities like walking or at-home pregnancy yoga can improve both your physical and mental health. Some light exercise during the day can help to release any pent-up energy, improve circulation and help you fall asleep easier at night. However, avoid any vigorous exercise too close to lights out, as this can also affect your ability to fall sleep.

 

Revel in relaxation techniques

Indulging in methods of relaxation can help you calm your mind and relax your muscles. This may include light stretching, massage therapy, deep breathing, meditation, or taking a warm bath or shower. Find the technique that works best for you and stick to it, maintaining this routine every night to help your body understand when it’s time to sleep.

If you’ve surrounded yourself with pillows, tried all of the above and sleep still doesn’t come, don’t wait for it. After 20 to 40 minutes (depending on how restless you become), hop out of bed and try encouraging your body to relax with some reading, writing or light chores, like paying a bill or jotting down your to-dos for tomorrow. You might just become tired enough to get the rest you need.

Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting

From heartburn to pre-birth anxiety, there’s a myriad of reasons you might be struggling to sleep during your pregnancy. On top of your existing symptoms, sleep deprivation can affect both your physical and emotional wellbeing, adding frustration and even more fatigue to the list. To help you conquer those sleepless nights, here’s what you should know about insomnia and what you can do to cope.

When does insomnia start?

Insomnia, or the inability to fall or stay asleep, can happen at any point during those magical nine months. Increased progesterone levels in the first trimester can cause bouts of sleeplessness, while many expectant mothers experience insomnia more frequently in the second or third trimesters as other pregnancy symptoms increase. As your belly grows, it also becomes more difficult to get comfortable.

What causes insomnia?

Insomnia can occur for various reasons. Most commonly, it’s a complex combination of different factors and symptoms that cause difficulty falling and staying asleep.

  • Hormonal changes
  • Heartburn
  • Leg cramping
  • Body aches
  • Frequent bathroom trips
  • Discomfort due to growing baby bump
  • Pre-birth anxiety or anticipation
  • Frequent, vivid dreams

What can I do to cope with insomnia?

Before you get frustrated at your suddenly uncomfortable mattress or sickly snoring partner (did they always snore that loudly?!), remember that you might be getting more shut-eye than you realise. But, between your senseless dreams, parenting anxieties and oh-so frequent trips to the bathroom, it’s no wonder you feel like you’re surviving off 13 minutes of sleep at a time. So, if you’ve tried relaxation techniques, developed a bedtime routine and rest still doesn’t come, don’t wait for it.

After 30 to 40 minutes of trying to doze off (depending on how impatient you are), hop out of bed and try conquering a small task to encourage your body to feel tired or your mind to relax. Here are some handy things-to-do when the imp of insomnia strikes:

  • Write it out: If you’re experiencing some anxiety about birth or parenting, write them down in a journal. This can help to clear your head of the concerns and relax your mind for sleep.
  • Complete light chores: Pay a bill or jot down tomorrow’s to-do list to help organise your thoughts. Using your sleepless time productively can help your mind and body feel more prepared for rest.
  • Read: Some light reading on the couch or in a cosy spot around your home can also encourage your brain to feel more tired.
  • Meditation, yoga or breathing exercises: If your mind is muddled with thoughts, take some time to reconnect with yourself through meditation, yoga or rhythmic breathing. This can help to clear your head and prepare both your mind and body for sleep.

Remember, if your insomnia and exhaustion begin to affect your health and wellbeing, talk to your doctor about potential remedies.

Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting

Calming Your Labour Fears

12/08/2020 9:08 AM

Fear of the unknown is entirely natural. For many mothers-to-be, the prospect of labour poses some panic. But, the best way to ease your labour fears is to be as educated as possible about what to expect, so you can (hopefully) give birth with confidence!

Will I make it to the hospital on time?

Statistically, signs point to yes. You may have heard a story or two about women giving birth on freeways, but these are the exception. The average labour generally takes about eight hours. So, unless you live a city or two away from your hospital, there’s a high chance you will arrive with plenty of time.

Tip: Call your midwife or birthing specialist as soon as you experience signs of labour. Based on your symptoms, they will be able to tell you whether or not it’s time to head to the hospital. Also, remember that countless women give birth safely in hospital, but only crazy stories make news.

What if I poop while pushing?

No big deal – it happens to the best of us (and most, in fact)! You are likely the only one in the delivery room with this concern. When your little one is ready to exit, you have to rely on a bundle of muscles to push them out, including those in your rectum. Just like childbirth itself, it’s completely natural. Most seasoned nurses and midwives can quickly remove the evidence before you realised it even happened.

What about tearing?

Vaginal tearing refers to a laceration between the vagina and rectum that occurs as you’re pushing. This side effect is entirely natural and highly common among first-time mothers. Depending on the degree of your tear, you may require some stitches after birth and will likely experience some discomfort. The good news is that by week two, the tear will be mostly healed, and the stitches dissolved. The even-better news is that after your first vaginal birth, your tissue becomes more flexible, which makes tearing less likely for future deliveries.

What if I need a c-section?

Whether or not it’s in your birth plan, you should brace yourself for the possibility of a c-section. If complications do occur, a c-section could be the safest option for you and your baby. If your heart is set on delivering vaginally, be clear with your doctor and let them know that a c-section should be the last resort. It’s important to keep yourself informed about the realities of c-sections; this way you’ll be a little more prepared for the scenario should it occur.

What if I can’t handle the pain?

Oh, but you can, and you will! By this time, you are well-aware that childbirth is not pain-free. However, fearing this pain will only intensify your discomfort. Fear itself can make you breathe faster, become anxious, heighten your blood pressure, and tense up your muscles, which can all up the pain factor.

Going to childbirth classes, talking to other mothers, practising relaxation techniques and educating yourself about the birthing process can help to ease some of this pre-birth tension. You can also talk to your doctor about possible pain medication, like an epidural. Keep in mind that it’s natural to feel nervous about delivery, and countless other mothers-to-be are experiencing the same concerns.

Do remember that the pain you experience has a positive purpose: to thin and open your cervix in preparation for your baby’s arrival. Eventually, this pain ends, and you are left with your brand-new bundle of joy. In the meantime, keep yourself informed but steer clear of those scary stories!

Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting

Miscarriage: myth vs fact

8/07/2020 4:05 PM

Miscarriage: not too many words cause more anxiety in women and their partners. But what does it really mean to miscarry and can it be avoided? Some of the facts might surprise you, but at the very least it pays to be informed on what can be a potentially painful experienceRead More
Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting
We often hear about caesareans, or c-sections, when we talk about pregnancy. But what is a c-section and why do some women have them?Read More
Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting
Yes, it is extremely likely your doctor will encourage you to maintain or even increase your exercise while pregnant. Unfortunately, up to three quarters of women don’t get enough exercise while pregnant – it’s time to bust some myths.Read More
Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting

Pre birth tests: amniocentesis

8/07/2020 11:35 AM

Amniocentesis is a pre-birth test conducted to detect a range of abnormalities or conditions in the foetus. It is only offered to women in high-risk groups.Read More
Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting

What is a water birth?

8/07/2020 10:56 AM

You might have heard of them, but what is a water birth? And why do some women choose to have them?Read More
Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting
Hair and eye colour are genetically determined traits. Once you have fallen pregnant, there isn’t much you can do to influence them other than moving aside for nature to run its course. You can, however, take an educated guess as to what colour they are likely to be.Read More
Posted in Pregnancy By Baby Bunting

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