Throughout pregnancy, we imagine our baby… We dream of this first meeting! As D-Day approaches, it's no wonder we're on the lookout for any new sensations that could mean labor is imminent.
We are not referring here to the effacement or dilatation of the cervix of the uterus, nor the loss of the mucous plug. We're talking about those other signs, physical and physiological, that the majority of women say they've felt in the days leading up to the onset of labour.
We have listed, for you, those who are mentioned most often and we asked a nurse if they are reliable indicators.
Hormones are responsible for many upheavals during pregnancy and they also have a big role to play in inducing labor. It is the actions of prostaglandin, oxytocin and nitric oxide that are responsible for the softening of the cervix… and other muscle fibres, intestine included.
Shortly before the onset of contractions, it is therefore not abnormal to notechanges on the side of the stool (increased frequency and change in consistency). “Unfortunately, says Marie-Josée Tremblay, nurse, this is not an imminent sign of childbirth. It is easy, at the end of pregnancy, to interpret several normal physical changes and to give them a meaning that is in line with our expectations”.
Mothers-to-be often associate insomnia with the onset of contractions. Mrs. Tremblay specifies: “It is normal, at the end of pregnancy, to have disturbed sleep. But we cannot make a direct link between an imminent delivery and insomnia. »
Remember that at the end of pregnancy, several factors such as anxiety and back pain (to take only these as examples) can influence the quality and quantity of sleep. "The important thing is to rest as much as possible and take the opportunity to quietly organize the baby drawers," advises the specialist.
Baby come down
To be born, baby must descend into the pelvis. Helped by the contractions, he will accomplish this feat in just a few hours (and in some cases, between 30 and 40 minutes). "The descent of the baby into the pelvis is undeniably a sign of imminent delivery," says Ms. Tremblay. However, what women are talking about is this feeling of pressure exerted on the pelvic floor, which can occur in late pregnancy.”
In the majority of cases, this pain is caused by diastasis of the pelvic symphysis (otherwisesaid, the ligaments that have become soft) and unfortunately, this does not indicate that the childbirth will start soon.
The nesting instinct
Several mothers say that as they approach childbirth, they are marked by a cleaning frenzy, an irresistible urge to tidy up, order, clean. This phenomenon would be instinctive, like the mother birds who make their nest just before laying eggs… at least, that's what our grandmothers say! But that “is a myth,” says Ms. Tremblay.
On the list of clues announcing the big day, we find weight loss. Indeed, rumor has it that you lose a few pounds in the week before giving birth. Again, the main culprits of this phenomenon would be hormones. However, when we broach this subject with our nurse, she seems perplexed: “I have never heard of such a thing! she exclaims.
We can therefore deduce that weight loss is not a reliable sign.
“A few days or weeks before labor begins, women will have what appear to be thicker vaginal discharge,” explains the nurse. She specifies: “In fact, these are not vaginal discharge like the others: it is about the mucous plug which goes away and it does not necessarily happen all at once. »
If some women give birth in the days following the loss of the famousmucous plug, others will still have to wait weeks for this to happen.
When you ask Mrs. Tremblay if suddenly being more sensitive is a warning sign of labor, you can hear the smile in her voice. "No, it's not a sign as such," she said. The last few weeks, women can be more emotional for all kinds of factors: fatigue, hormones, anxiety… There are several reasons to explain this greater sensitivity. »
Several reasons… but not the fact that the delivery is approaching, it seems!
back pain, during pregnancy and especially towards the end, is the prerogative of almost all women. “Near term, expectant mothers experience lower back pain,” says Ms. Tremblay. However, these pains are attributable to the ligaments of the lower abdomen which, under the effect of hormones, become more flexible and that does not necessarily announce the start of labor either.
At the end of the interview, Ms. Tremblay would like to point out that the "true sign that indicates that the birth is coming very soon is the onset of contractions". All other discomforts and symptoms, with the possible exception of mucous plug loss, can be the result of a host of factors not associated with the onset of labour. Even if it seems impossible to anticipate the start of labor, it is better to be patient and let nature surprise us.