It’s the topic foremost in your mind as your due date approaches—how will you know when baby is ready for the big reveal? Here are the top signs you should grab that hospital bag.
Your waters break
This is usually the biggest sign you’re about to go into labour (at least according to movies!). It refers to when the amniotic sac surrounding your baby pops—and while it can certainly “pop”, it can also trickle out gradually over a few days. Also, waters can break once labour is already well under way
If you suspect your waters have gone, always call your maternity unit; you’ll have to provide information about the colour and smell of the fluid, too.
Other signs of impending labour include:
- Heartburn relief (caused by your baby descending lower into the birth canal and so lessening pressure on your digestive organs).
- You have a ‘show’ (this refers to when you lose your mucous plug—which has kept your uterus safe from infection during pregnancy).
- Your nipples leak (not milk, but colostrum, the nutrient-dense liquid newborns first feed on).
- Frequent toilet stops
- A sudden burst of energy (also referred to as ‘nesting’— the desire to have everything in order before baby arrives
- Walking differently (caused by a widened pelvis)
Of course, you might not experience—or notice—the majority of these signs; each labour is different! And the speed of progression is different for each labour, too. Don’t expect a dramatic Hollywood-style, 0-100 velocity birth…the symptoms can unfold over hours, and sometimes even days (so relax while you have the chance).