Signs of Labor

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There’s no way to predict exactly when labor will start. And even when you notice early signs of labor, your baby’s birth could still be days or weeks away.

Your body actually starts preparing for labor as much as a month before you give birth, so you may begin to notice new symptoms as your due date approaches.

Here are some early signs of labor:

  • Your baby “drops.”If this is your first pregnancy, you may feel what’s known as “lightening” a few weeks before labor starts, meaning the baby now rests lower in your pelvis. You might feel less pressure just below your ribcage, making it easier to catch your breath.
  • You have more Braxton Hicks contractions.More frequent and intense Braxton Hicks contractions can signal pre-labor, which is when your cervix starts to thin and widen, and sets the stage for true labor. Some women experience menstrual-like cramps during this time.
  • Your cervix starts to change.In the days and weeks before delivery, changes in the connective tissue of your cervix make it soften and eventually thin and widen, or dilate. (If you’ve given birth before, your cervix is more likely to dilate a centimeter or two before labor starts, but keep in mind that even being 40 weeks pregnant with your first baby and 1 centimeter dilated is no guarantee that labor is imminent.) When you’re at or near your due date, your doctor or midwife may do a vaginal exam during your prenatal visit to see whether your cervix has started to change.
  • You pass your mucus plug or notice “bloody show.”If your cervix begins to efface significantly or dilate as you get close to labor, you may pass your mucus plug – the small amount of thickened mucus that has sealed off your cervical canal for the last nine months. The plug may come out in a lump all at one time or as an increased amount of vaginal discharge over the course of several days. The mucus may be tinged with brown, pink, or red blood, which is why it’s called “bloody show.” (Having sex or a vaginal exam can also disturb your mucus plug and result in some blood-tinged discharge, even when labor isn’t necessarily starting any time soon.)

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Signs that labor is imminent, if not already under way, include:

  • Your contractions become increasingly intense.Unlike Braxton-Hicks contractions, labor contractions grow stronger, longer, and more frequent as they cause your cervix to dilate.
  • Your water breaks.When the fluid-filled amniotic sac surrounding your baby ruptures, fluid leaks from your vagina. And whether it comes out in a large gush or a small trickle, this is a signal that it’s time to call your doctor or midwife.

Most women start having regular contractions before their water breaks, but in some cases, the water breaks first. When this happens, labor usually follows soon after.

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Postnatal Physical Fitness – “it’s all about being better than you used to be”

During the first few weeks after the delivery, your feelings and emotions play a pivotal role in grooming and developing your baby. Therefore, postnatal physical fitness is essential since you are getting more powerful physically and mentally both. Some people say weight loss is more than a physical challenge, it’s a mental challenge.find-time-to-work-out-shutterstock_100694539When to start doing exercises after the delivery?

Start normal workouts such as walking as soon as you are comfortable after giving birth. Six weeks after giving birth, most changes that occur during pregnancy will return to normal. If you had a caesarean birth, a difficult birth, or complications, it may take a little longer to feel ready to start exercising. If you did not exercise during pregnancy, start with easy exercises and slowly build up to more harder ones.

Moving with the baby

Baby Dancing

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Dancing provides a light cardiovascular workout that involves all major muscle groups and improves balance and coordination. It will also elevate your mood, no matter how tired and stressed you might be. You can do this while holding your baby or with the baby in a carrier that keeps him close to your body and supports his head (a carrier with straps that fit over your shoulders and around your waist is best).

Just put on some music you love and dance, keeping your abs drawn in.

Baby overhead press

  • Straighten your arms upwards without locking your elbows.
  • Pause, then lower your baby to the starting position.
  • Do 10 reps
  • Rest and play, then do 2 more sets.

Baby bench presssq

  • Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent.
  • Contract your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Hold your baby securely and bring him close to your chest.

 

Postnatal exercises will give you the following:

  • Improve your physical and mental well-being.
  • It can help restore muscle strength and firm up your body.
  • Make you less tired because it raises your energy level and improves your sense of wellbeing.
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Improve your cardiovascular fitness and restore muscle strength.
  • Conditions your abdominal muscles.
  • Improves your mood, relieves stress and help prevent postpartum depression.

Recommended types of postnatal exercises

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Low impact aerobic workouts
  • Light weight training
  • Cycling

 

Author:

Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.

Pregnancy Massage – It’s about being good to yourself

Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body including, muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and joints. According to some university studies it has been demonstrated that massage therapy is very effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, less leg and back pain. In the massage group, cortisol levels decreased, fetal activity decreased and the rate of prematurity was lower.

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In a study of labor pain, women who received massage therapy experienced significantly less pain and on average, their labor period was 3 hours shorter with less need for medication. An underlying mechanism we have been exploring is that these effects are mediated by increased vagal activity. This likely occurs by the stimulation of pressure receptors that are innervated by the vagal afferent fibers, which ultimately projects to the limbic system, including hypothalamic structures involved in autonomic nervous system regulation and cortisol secretion.

Depressed pregnant women were massaged over a 16-week period using the same protocol (20-min massages twice weekly). Similar to the first study, significant decreases were observed in depression and anxiety, as well as cortisol levels. In addition, pregnancy outcomes were improved, including a reduction in excessive fetal movement that has been noted in fetuses of depressed women. The most important finding was the lower incidence of prematurity.

The use of pregnancy massage can also help reduce the weight on the joints. Like other forms of massage therapy, it may also affthinkstockphotos123904454_1.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2ect the flow of blood circulation and lymphatic flow. A regime of massage may also increase the pliability of the skin. This is helpful both during the pregnancy and while the client is in labor. Prenatal massage can be a positive experience. It can help pregnant women emotionally and physically. The massage therapist also needs to communicate clearly with the mother and understand any specific worries or possible problems.

What you get from Massage Therapy ?

  • Tranquil relaxation and reduce stress.together
  • Relief from muscle cramp, spasms, especially in the lower back, neck, hips & legs
  • Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues.
  • Reduce weight absorbing joints.
  • Increase in blood circulation which can reduce swelling.
  • Improve the outcome of labor and eases labor pain.
  • Provides support for the new mother with physical & emotional strains of mothering.

 

Author:

Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.