5. You Probably Won’t Need to Throw a Pickle Jar
I’ve had several clients who were told that breaking water is how labor will start. The advice they hear is:
“If your water breaks while you are in the grocery store, just grab a jar of pickles, throw it on the ground as a distraction, and go running out of the store!”
In reality, only 10-15% of labors start with water breaking before the first contraction. The likelihood of you not knowing that it’s coming is relatively low. If it does happen? No need to be embarrassed!
4. A Mucus Plug is Not Always a Bloody Show
The mucus plug serves to block your cervix from bacteria entering during pregnancy, protecting your uterus from infection. The body can pass it as one big chunk or in bits and pieces, before labor starts or throughout labor, and even long before labor or very late in labor. It can be clear, pinkish, or brownish. Passing the mucus plug is known as a “show,” and when it is accompanied by a small amount of blood or is blood-tinged, it is called a “bloody show”. The small amount of blood generally indicates cervical dilation. Sometimes losing a mucus plug or having bloody show is how labor will start, sometimes not. It is a sign of things happening in the body, but not a crystal ball as to when labor will begin. If you are curious as to what mucus plugs look like, you can check out images on Google.
3. There’s No Such Thing as False Labor
It’s called “Prodromal Labor,” and it’s accomplishing something!
It is labor that starts and stops, has a fairly predictable time and pattern of contractions (for example, nightly from 10-2 you experience 30 second contractions that are 10 minutes apart), but it never picks up into full-blown labor.
Prodromal labor is not how labor will start, but it is a part of your body’s way of preparing for birth.
2. Contractions are Not the Same as Period Cramps
There is no other muscle in your body that contracts without lengthening again, and your uterus does not do this at any time in your life other than labor! This is why people have a hard time describing to you what a contraction feels like. Labor starting with contractions can be sort of “is it? isn’t it?”, but you’ll know it’s the real thing when they get longer, stronger, and closer together.
1. We Don’t Know Why or How Labor Starts
It was only just discovered in 2004 that there is a protein released from the lungs of the baby that initiates the complex chemical process of how labor will start. The exact process of how and why labor begins is not really understood yet.
It is kind of amazing to think that it is the baby who signals labor to begin only when its lungs are developed enough to take a breath on the outside world!