Finally the time has come! You have almost reached the moment you have been anticipating for nine long months: Holding your baby in your arms, finally having the chance to see your bundle of joy and welcome him or her into the world.
But to reach this goal, you and your baby need to overcome one final hurdle: Birth.
There are some clear signs which point fairly reliably to the onset of birth. To ensure you do not miss the starting signal, we have compiled the most important indicators here for you.
The mucus plug seals the cervical canal during pregnancy, thus providing protection from infections. If this plug is discharged, birth is not far off. This process is also known as the “show”, as the discharge is light brown or slightly bloody.
Due to the lack of protection against infection once the plug has dislodged, it is important to abstain from sexual intercourse from this point on.
The loss of the mucus plug may occur a few days prior to birth and thus does not always mean that labour is about to begin directly.
Of course you have already been experiencing contraction pains for some days or even weeks now in the form of a light pulling sensation in your lower abdomen, similar to menstrual pain. These “pre-labour” or “practice” contractions allow your baby’s head to descend lower into your pelvis.
At the same time, your body is training for the onset of real contractions.
You can tell when labour is really about to begin when the pain becomes more intense and returns at regular intervals – that is, when the dilation contractions have commenced.
If you are unsure about which contractions you are experiencing, there is an old midwife's trick: Take a warm bath. The practice contractions will ease up in the bath; the dilation contractions will intensify.