You’ve been waiting for months, anticipating the arrival of your little bundle of joy! But when is it time to drive to the nearest hospital? What signs point to D-day? Below are some of the most common signs that you’re about to give birth:
The Baby “Drops” Down Your Belly
Do you find yourself taking more and more bathroom breaks? Are you waddling even more than usual? During the last trimester, the baby will start moving towards your pelvis. This frees up the lungs but the baby’s head will cause pressure to your bladder, hence, the frequent bathroom breaks.
As your body prepares for birth, the cervix will start to dilate and efface or open and thin out within weeks of D-day. Your doctor will keep a record of your cervix’s dilation and effacement through internal exam. However, there are times when the cervix won’t dilate as quickly but don’t worry; it will start later in your pregnancy.
Cramping is a normal part of pregnancy but as labor nears, you will start experiencing frequent cramping around the groin area coupled by back pain. This is a result of your lower body preparing for birth. The muscles and joints are now stretching themselves and shifting their positions to make way for the baby!
Ligaments and Joints Feels Looser
When you’re nearing labor, the brain will trigger the generation of “relaxin.” Relaxin is a hormone that loosens the joints and ligaments. The release of relaxin helps loosen and soften the joints around the pelvis, giving your baby more room as it prepares to exit.
Bouts of Diarrhea
You’re having a bad case of diarrhea — did you eat something that doesn’t agree with you? Not likely. As the muscles in the uterus loosen up and soften, the rectal muscles become relaxed as well. This explains your bouts of diarrhea. So always keep yourself hydrated when you’re having pregnancy diarrhea and just relax, the baby’s on its way.
Another common sign that points to labor is you feel tired all the time — more tired than usual. Carrying around all that extra weight coupled by frequent bathroom breaks throughout the day will tire you out. Sleeping becomes disrupted too because of your smooshed bladder.
We recommend propping several pillows to ease the stress on your back. Take cat naps throughout the day and stay hydrated to energize the body.
You Start Losing Weight
Because of the frequent bathroom breaks and lower levels of amniotic fluid in the body, you’re bound to lose weight during the last trimester of your pregnancy. But don’t think your weight will affect your baby’s weight, it won’t. Your baby will continue to gain weight despite the lower level of amniotic fluid.
Passing of the Mucus Plug
Throughout the duration of the pregnancy, a mucus plug will develop and will block the opening of the cervix to protect the baby from harmful bacteria entering the uterus. A couple of weeks (or a week before) you’re due to give birth, the mucus plug is expelled to allow the baby to pass through during labor. If you see clear, pink, or slightly reddish vaginal discharge, then hang tight — labor is near.