January 20, 2023
As your due date nears (or in the weeks after!), there will be changes in your body as you prepare to give birth. Contractions are the most common sign of labor starting. When contractions come, they will start off mild and get stronger as time passes. As the contractions increase in intensity, the cervix will begin to open up (dilate). The timing of these contractions vary greatly but often birth professionals will tell you that when the contractions are five minutes apart and lasting a minute, active labor is imminent and if you’re having a hospital birth, this is the stage they’ll usually admit you.
As active labor progresses, the contractions will become much stronger and closer together. This is when the cervix will open fully and your baby will begin its descent down the birth canal. You may experience a sensation similar to an urge to push during this stage.
As your baby moves further into the birth canal, you may feel pressure in your rectum and back. Listen to your body in this stage and you’ll know when it’s time to push!
No two labors are alike, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. With the right mindset and knowledge of what to expect, you can make this journey a positive experience for both you and your baby.
For SW Washington families, check out Building Your Birth Team in Vancouver Washington to find your midwives, birth centers and doulas.
For Astoria and North Coast families, check out Building Your Birth Team in Astoria Oregon