If you are wondering how many women give birth on the expected date of birth, you might be surprised to learn that only 5% do. While it is not a hit-and-miss process, women who are in their third trimester need to know that there is are different times when the exact date of delivery will happen. During this period, women need to be alert for signs that point to the baby popping out soon.
The expected date of delivery could be two weeks prior to or two weeks after the official day of delivery that your doctor or midwife tells you. And during that 30 day period, you may wake up every morning wondering if today is the day.
As the date of delivery nears, pregnant women may feel both intense, overlapping emotions and physical symptoms. This can be quite confusing especially if you are a first-time mom.
I have a doula. When should I call her?
While every woman’s experience of labor and delivery is unique, there are common signs that will tell you when delivery is imminent. Being aware of these signs weeks, days, and hours prior to delivery will help you prepare, including getting your doula on board as the weeks and days leading up to delivery near.
Here are the usual times when you can reach out to your doula for emotional, physical, and informational support, guidance, and care.
During early labor
Weeks into your third trimester, you may already be feeling some signs of early labor. For example, you may notice that unlike the early part of your pregnancy, you have stopped gaining weight. You may also feel increasingly fatigued, and your back hurts more frequently.
You may also feel contractions in your belly. Your doula should be able to explain to you the difference between a Braxton Hicks contraction and the regular and intense contractions when you are experiencing active labor.
While it won’t be noticeable except to your doctor during prenatal exams, your cervix will start to dilate. You may also start to feel your baby dropping, which is also known as lightening. From its position near the diaphragm, the baby drops closer to the pelvis in preparation for birth.
While delivery is already on the horizon, you can keep your doula up to speed about the progress of your early labor. Make sure to share with your doula the things that you are experiencing and feeling. It would be good if you can have a journal where you can write down what has been happening, including what you feel and the changes that you are experiencing. And if you have any questions, it would be good to ask your doula about it so she can provide you with the information you need.
Counting the days to delivery
When the months turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into days, things can get a bit frantic for a mom who is about to deliver a baby. Your doula can and should be able to provide you with the emotional, physical, and informational support that you need during this period. So give them a call if you need comfort and reassurance from your birth companion.
You may notice that your energy level is up in the past few days. Also, arranging and re-arranging the baby clothes and other stuff in the nursery gets you going. And you still have lots of energy left for other stuff around the house. The sudden burst of energy that you feel days prior to your delivery is referred to as nesting. It is one of the bright spots as the baby’s arrival gets close.
Another sign to watch out for is diarrhea resulting from the hormonal changes that your body goes through in preparation for the impending delivery. Your joints may also start to feel looser again due to hormones. It happens to loosen and relax your pelvis, but other joints in your body are affected as well. Be careful, though, as the loosening of the joints may make you prone to clumsiness.
You may also want to be on the lookout for a thick, blood-tinged discharge. This is a natural occurrence as the plug that seals in the cervix is loosened during dilation and is released as a thick mucus. Seek your doula’s guidance if the discharge is bright red in color.
If there are other unusual feelings or symptoms that you are experiencing, do not hesitate to speak with your doula. It is precisely that role, of being a source of comfort and support that they play during the birthing process.
Active labor and delivery is hours away
Finally, the arrival of your newborn is just hours away. You may feel like a ball of tangled emotions and sensations. Your doula is there to provide you with comfort, care, and reassurance.
But more than your doula or even your doctor, you know your body best. With an experienced and skilled doula by your side, you have someone with you who can help make sense of the emotions and physical sensations that your body is going through.
The surefire signs that you are experiencing active labor include regular (every 30 to 70 seconds), increasingly intense contractions. This, along with your water breaking, should get you out the door and directly to the hospital. Your doula might also mention the possibility of bleeding, to prepare you and to avoid you being panicked over the sight of blood.
An experienced doula will not wait for your call but will check up on your from time to time when she senses that you are in active labor. But it would still be good to pre-compose a message on your phone to your doula to let her know that it’s time. This way, you can immediately send the message and not have to worry about composing it from scratch.
You and your doula can also discuss beforehand as part of your preparations for labor and delivery on which hospital or birthing facility you wish to have your baby. Your doula can also help you come up with your birth plan that contains your wishes and preferences on your birthing experience.
Find a doula that will work with you
An increasing number of pregnant women make the decision to have a doula be part of their pregnancy and birthing journey. Your doula provides you with other forms of support, attention, and care that a medical professional may not be able to provide. Your doula may even help you communicate to your medical team your preferences, feelings of pain or discomfort, and other physical sensations that you may be anxious to share.
Your doula is part of your team. And you want somebody on your side that you can fully trust, and that works well with you in your stated birthing experience and outcome.
Addressing your needs during this life-changing period in your life is important. Talk to us at Northeast Doulas and allow our doulas to provide you with all the support and reassurance that you need in the birthing process.
Let us take care of you and your baby. Contact us today!