Now that you know how to tell if you are really in labor, let's talk about some of the ways your body prepares for labor. Your baby will descend into your pelvis, sometimes called engagement or lightening, this can occur before labor in first time moms or during labor as in subsequent births. In the days before labor begins you may also experience the following, although they are not always accurate predictors of when labor will begin:
- bloody show from mucous plug
- loss of mucous plug
- nesting instinct
- loose stools
- loss of weight
- increase in appetite
Hang in there! You are almost done!
Did you know that the amniotic fluid is continually replaced, even in labor, at the rate of every three hours? Pretty amazing stuff! We really don't know where amniotic fluid comes from, although it is partially comprised of urine, sweat and other fluids from the baby. Your baby has been practicing breathing the amniotic fluid for many weeks in preparation for the big event!
The meconium in the baby's intestines will be shed as the first movement that the bowels make after birth. Meconium is a black, thick, tarry substance. About 30% of the time, the baby will actually pass this stool before birth.
Have you ever changed a diaper? You might see if there is a baby you can borrow to experiment on. And here is a cheat sheet to see what a new diaper looks like. Seriously, changing diapers is but one thing a dad can do to help a new mom. You can help bathe and snuggle with your baby, consider getting a baby carrier so that you can hold the baby close while you walk around.
Are you tired of answering questions about still being pregnant? Not much longer. Your weekly check ups probably include non-stress tests to help ensure babies are growing well and that the placentas are not aging. Remember to ask any questions you have during your visits. If you have poor memory, write them down before you go and record the answers on the same paper!
Laughter & Tears: The Emotional Life of a New Mother by Elisabeth Bing & Libby Coleman
A great resource for the new family. It discusses many of the joys and frustrations of new parenting.
Click Here to Order
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Photo © J. Lukasz