All mothers are concerned about the date of an upcoming birth. There is absolutely no accurate answer. Even if a woman knows the date of fertilization to the hour, it is still impossible to take into account all factors affecting the birth of a child.

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Doctors believe that normal pregnancy runs 280 days. Considering this time period, they calculate the date of birth, which can be determined in several different ways. For example, you can easily determine it by using menstruation. Deduct three calendar months from the first day of the last menstrual period and add seven days. This calculation would result in a possible date of birth.

Other ways of calculating the date of an upcoming birth are known only by a doctor—for example, through the size of the uterus, its location, and stomach volume. These methods are not reliable however.

Today, physicians are increasingly inclined to say that there is no sense in dividing children into premature and mature ones. They explain this by saying that if pregnancy proceeds normally, without pathology, it would not be bad if a child were to be born a little earlier or later than expected. What’s especially important is that a child is physically mature. Accordingly, a pregnancy from 35 to 45 weeks is considered normal.

Signs of labor.

As the day of birth approaches, you may notice some signs that indicate labor will happen soon.

1. Breathing becomes easier.

As a result of the baby’s downward movement, pressure on the diaphragm and stomach is reduced. Breathing becomes easier. Heartburn may disappear. Pressure on the lower abdomen increases, and sitting and walking become a little harder. After a baby’s downward displacement, a woman may have difficulty sleeping, as it is hard to find a comfortable position to sleep.

2. Changes in appetite.

Before childbirth, your appetite may change. It usually decreases, and it is good if a woman trusts her instincts when choosing products. Do not eat for two.

3. Reduced body weight.

Before childbirth a woman may lose some weight, possibly 1–2 kg. The body is preparing for childbirth naturally, and it has to be flexible and ductile.

4. Belly descent.

A woman may notice that her has stomach moved down. Abdomen descent occurs at the expense of lowering and insertion of fetal presenting part in pelvic entrance and discard of uterine bottom forward, due to a reduction in tone of abdominal press. A child begins to sink deeper into the pelvic region. For an initial birth, this occurs 2–4 weeks before delivery. For later births, it occurs on the eve of birth.

5. Sudden change of mood.

A woman looks forward to “her hour.” She cannot wait to give birth. Her mood can suddenly change, which is largely linked to neuroendocrine processes in pregnant women before childbirth. Explosions of energy are also possible. A state of fatigue and inertia may change suddenly to turbulent activity. There is a “nest” instinct. A woman prepares to welcome a baby: she sews, cleans, washes, and arranges things, but she shouldn’t overdo.

6. Frequent urination and defecation.

Urination becomes more frequent, as pressure on the bladder increases. Hormones affect the female intestine, causing so-called pre-clearance. Some women may experience slight abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

7. Pain in the lower back.

After the downward displacement of the child, a woman may experience uncomfortable sensations in her back. These are caused not only by pressure from the child but also by an increase of sacroiliac connective tissue tensile.

8. Changes in fetal motor activity.

A child can calm down slightly and then start moving actively, possibly choosing the rhythm and selecting the most appropriate time for birth.

9. Irregular uterine contractions.

After the 30th week of pregnancy, a woman may feel false labor. Tangible but occasional uterine contractions in this preliminary period are often mistaken for labor. A woman may feel some contractions a few weeks before childbirth. If a regular and continuous rhythm is not established and if the period between these contractions is not reduced, this usually does not mean the beginning of childbirth.

10. There are three main signs of birth:

– Appearance of regular contractions in the uterine muscle—contractions mean the beginning of delivery. Rhythmic contractions exert pressure on the abdominal cavity. The uterus becomes heavy, and pressure can be felt throughout the abdomen. What’s important here is the rhythm of the contractions. These labor pains must be repeated every 15–20 minutes (another frequency is also possible). Gradually, these intervals are reduced: contractions occurring every 3–4 minutes. Between these contractions, the abdomen relaxes, which is what the woman should do too.

– Vaginal cervical mucus—mucus plug. The mucous plug can move away two weeks before delivery and perhaps in 3–4 days. This usually occurs after the beginning of uterine contractions for enlargement of the cervical canal; thus, the mucous plug is moving away. The mucus plug keeps the channel closed during pregnancy, and its loss is a certain sign of birth. A colorless yellowish or light red discharge is also present.

– Release of water. The fetal bladder can leak and the water flows slowly. It can also break suddenly and the water will “gush.” From time to time, this happens before rhythmic uterine contractions begin, but it occurs more often during a second delivery. When the fetal bladder is broken, the woman does not feel pain. When waters retreat immediately—before the onset of rhythmic labor—the woman should go to the maternity house immediately!

Birth, as it happens.

Each woman’s delivery begins in a different way. Some women give birth “classically,” i.e., contractions develop gradually, the interval between labors are gradually decreased, and there is a desire to retch. Other women give birth “fast,” i.e., contractions are active and intervals between them are short. Although all women experience birth individually, there are some things that are the same for most of them.

Has it started?

The long waiting period will soon end, and mom will be able to put the baby to her breast. She is happy, but as the term approaches, her concern grows. How will she know that labor has begun? Is it possible to relieve pain?

A woman has a great variety of questions about an upcoming birth. Naturally, each process is individual. Many pregnant women will start feeling anxious, sometimes with palpitations, fever, or headaches the day before contractions.

It comes suddenly.

Sometimes, however, a woman may not feel any signs. In some cases, delivery begins abruptly, with the start of labor, which is the contraction of the uterine muscles, facilitating disclosure of the cervix. These contractions are felt through periodic pain in the waist or at the bottom of the stomach, which become regular and stronger. If the contractions are repeated regularly and frequently, then it’s time to go to a maternity hospital.

This is important.

Strong contractions of the uterine muscles and stomach slowly push a baby’s head through the uterine mouth and descent channel. The expulsion of the fetus is a rather painful and difficult time in giving birth, but experiencing it, a woman regains confidence that the process is moving forward aggressively. When strain occurs with the labor, the finishing stage of childbirth begins. During this time, a woman feels an irresistible desire to retch (at this point, she has to listen carefully to her doctor’s recommendations). Her muscles are literally pushing the baby.

Most women want to give birth naturally, without any medical intervention. It is clear, however, that labor can be quite painful, but midwives and doctors know how to help relieve the pain.

Easing fear.

Some women fear they will not be able to overcome labor pains and request anesthesia in advance. As with an ordinary headache, some are trying to relax, escape, or want fresh air; others take drugs quickly.

It is good that doctors today have many opportunities to help a woman during labor, and future mothers will not be passive in the delivery room—they can consciously influence the process of childbirth. A pregnant woman should find out how a clinic will help her. In addition, she should talk about her wishes and fears with a gynecologist. It is likely that her fears will be eased and that she will become confident that the result will be satisfactory.