Signs of birth: the baby is getting ready to be born

The calculated date of birth is getting closer – the future parents are starting to get impatient. When will the baby finally be born? There are quite clear signs of this, but they can be quite different from woman to woman and also in different pregnancies.


As the due date approaches, it’s an exciting time for parents. When is it finally time? Especially women who are having their first child are very uncertain about this issue and are worried about missing the right time.

But even doctors and midwives can not predict the exact time of birth. Only five percent of children are born exactly on their due date. Nature does not follow the calendar, only the woman’s organism and the baby determine when the right time has come. But the pregnant woman’s body sends a number of signals that herald the impending birth. However, these birth symptoms are different for every pregnancy and every woman.

Signs of the birth

The first signs that the baby is about to be born can be noticed by the expectant mother a few weeks before the birth: From about the 36th week. Week of pregnancy, the baby slips deeper into the pelvis in the uterus. The pregnant woman can Descending labor pains (preterm labor pains) feel.

These contractions of the uterus can last up to 40 seconds and vary in intensity – they can be felt, for example, as a pulling in the lower back, as pressure in the abdomen, some pregnant women only feel nausea or discomfort. In contrast to real labor pains come Descending contractions not regular. However, if the contractions repeat regularly, the baby is making its way into the world. Then it is probably the first labor pains.

Other early signs of impending birth are:

  • Nest-building instinct: the pregnant woman prepares the home for the baby.
  • The feeling that enough is now enough with the baby bump
  • insomnia
  • listlessness or fatigue
  • reduced appetite or ravenous hunger and an increased urge to urinate
  • Fading fetal movements
  • Pre-milk leaks from the nipples

In addition to these sometimes very non-specific symptoms, there are three clear physical signs that announce that the baby is about to be born:

  • "Drawing" – Discharge of bloody mucus from the vagina
  • The amniotic sac bursts and amniotic fluid is discharged
  • regular contractions at intervals of 10 to 15 minutes

1. The cervix opens – "drawing"

During pregnancy, the cervix is tightly closed, and a plug of mucus ("birth cork") forms in the cervix as a barrier against infection. Under the influence of hormones that control the birth process, the cervix opens piecemeal before the birth. The mucus plug loosens and comes out, often mixed with blood. This process is called "drawing – the pregnant woman notices a pink discharge.

During the last check-ups in pregnancy, the doctor also checks whether the cervix is still closed. The time when the cervix begins to open varies greatly. Sometimes the mucus is discharged as early as ten to twelve days before labor begins. Mostly, however, this happens when the birth has already begun.

2. Amniotic fluid leaks, amniotic sac breaks

There are many stories surrounding the discharge of amniotic fluid. Women who have not yet given birth to a child are downright afraid that the Water breaks. But this does not happen to every woman. The normal rupture of the membranes "happens Only when the cervix is fully open, that is, after labor has started. It is not uncommon for the amniotic sac not to be broken until the woman is in the hospital.

Even if the amniotic sac breaks shortly before birth, the amniotic fluid usually only comes out drop by drop, because the baby’s head is already in front of the cervix and closes a possible tear.

With a premature rupture of the amniotic sac, before the onset of labor. The baby is now no longer protected by the surrounding amniotic fluid. In this emergency situation, the pregnant woman should be taken to a hospital as quickly as possible and lying down.

Sudden onset, heavy prenatal bleeding are often an indication of an impending emergency situation for mother and child. Most of the time it is a premature placental abruption, which endangers the care of the child during birth. In this case, the expectant mother should be taken to the hospital immediately and preferably by ambulance. Quick intervention is often necessary to save the life of the child.

3. Onset of labor

Labor is a sure sign that the birth is about to begin. The uterus contracts at regular intervals, sporadically at first, but then noticeably more and more. The first contractions do not usually come as a surprise, as the pre-labor contractions have usually already given a foretaste of them.

Usually the pregnant woman feels a pulling in the abdomen or a feeling of pressure in the abdomen, which is similar to menstrual cramps. This is probably followed by a cramp in the sacral region, which spreads over the abdomen and encloses it like a tight belt. Very often, these contractions are felt like a wave of discomfort running through the abdomen, reaching a peak and then subsiding again. At the same time, the uterus becomes hard and contracts before relaxing again.

Recognize labor pains

Labor pains can no longer be controlled by relaxation techniques and come on more regular at shorter intervals and become more painful. In the initial phase, these contractions last about 30 to 60 seconds and the intervals are five to 20 minutes.

But even this rhythm can vary greatly. Many women do not notice the contractions until they occur every five minutes. Later, they last 60 to 90 seconds with breaks of two to four minutes. Preterm contractions can be distinguished from real contractions by the fact that the former disappear when the pregnant woman walks around, while labor contractions do not.

At what distance from labor to the hospital?

When the contractions return every 15 to 20 minutes, the birth begins. However, there is no need to become hectic at this stage. Many hours usually pass between the onset of the first regular contractions and the birth of the baby. For first-time mothers, the average time is expected to be eight to 14 hours, but it can be as long as 20 to 24 hours. With the second child and further pregnancies, women need on average only eight hours until delivery. It is also often the case that the contractions "fall asleep" once again on arrival at the hospital.

As a rule of thumb for the start in the clinic:

  • Contractions come every five to seven minutes at regular intervals.
  • contractions become stronger and more painful, especially when walking around.
  • It is difficult to speak during the contractions.

However, women should keep in mind that every birth is very individual. The interval, duration and intensity of contractions, as well as the length of labor, can vary greatly. Ultimately, the woman should listen to her gut feeling and decide for herself when the right time is to go to the hospital.

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