Knowing when you are in labor and when it is time to go to the hospital can be difficult, especially for first-time parents. However, many signs indicate labor is imminent or has officially started. Here's what you need to know.
What are some signs that your labor is coming soon?
Knowing that the big day is coming is stressful if you are a new parent. You may have read all the books and spoken with your doctor, but you still might not feel prepared. After all, every labor is different. The good news is that there are some common signs that you are in labor, including:
- Nesting. This is when you suddenly feel the urge to clean your house or organize everything. It's your body's way of preparing for the baby.
- Baby drops. This is when the baby's head moves down into your pelvis. You may feel like you are carrying all the weight in your abdomen and might notice you urinating more frequently.
- Pain in the lower back. This can be caused by the baby's head pressing on your spine.
- Cramps. These may feel like period cramps and can occur with or without diarrhea.
What is a sign that your labor is officially starting?
A clear sign that your labor is officially starting is your water breaking. This is when the amniotic sac surrounding the baby ruptures. You will likely feel a gush or a slow leak of fluid.
How do you know if your water broke?
Pregnant people tend to leak a lot of fluid, from emotional tears to urine when they sneeze. Knowing how to differentiate between that and your water breaking can be confusing. Here are some tips:
- Color. If the liquid is clear or has a tint of green, it is most likely amniotic fluid.
- Quantity. If you leak a large amount of fluid, it is more likely that your water broke.
- Timing. If you are leaking fluid consistently, it is more likely to be your water breaking.
If you are unsure if your water has broken, you can always call your doctor or midwife. In addition, you can buy an at-home water break detection test to determine if your amniotic sac has ruptured.
What is an at-home water break detection test?
A water break detection test is a strip of paper that you insert into your vagina. The paper will change color if it comes in contact with amniotic fluid. This can be a quick and easy way to determine if your water has broken and, in turn, to ease your mind.
How does an at-home water break detection test work?
Healthline reports that normal vaginal fluids have a pH level of 4.5 to 6.0, while amniotic fluid has a pH level closer to 7.0. The paper test strip in your at-home water break detection kit is coated with chemicals that will change color when they come in contact with the higher pH, indicating the presence of amniotic fluid.
Knowing when you are in labor and what the signs are can be difficult, but an at-home water break detection test will help you be better prepared. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to speak with your doctor. For more information on why you shouldbuy an at-home water break detection test, contact a professional near you.