When to Prepare Your Hospital Bag: Top 10 Signs of Labor
As you enter your third trimester and your due date approaches, you may begin to wonder, "should I start packing my hospital bag?" Many women wonder how early they should start preparing for labor and delivery.
Some moms may begin packing as soon as they see a plus sign on their pregnancy test. While other OGs may grab a t-shirt and banana on their way out the door. Every woman's experience is different, but there are some common signs of labor that can help you determine when it's time to start packing your bag.
In this blog post, we will discuss the top 10 signs of labor that'll spark you to start packing your bag.
THE BABY DROPS
You'll notice that your bump is looking a little lower than usual. That's because baby is starting to get into position to make their grand entrance. Some women may notice it right away, while others may not notice it all.
This usually happens at least 2 weeks before the baby arrives. An excellent way to keep track of your bump is to take daily side shots of your bump. You can compare them each week and see if you notice a difference.
AN INCREASED URGE TO PEE
Naturally, if baby is moving lower, the perfect place for them to rest is on your bladder. The low position of the baby's head adds more pressure to your bladder when it increases your urge to pee.
At this stage, I know you're already going to the bathroom around the clock, so you may not notice the uptick in bathroom trips. As the baby drops, you may notice that you're able to finally breathe. Them dropping onto your bladder finally gives your lungs a little breathing room and frees up your diaphragm.
You may start to notice a dull ache in the middle of your lower back. It'll feel like you can't do anything to relieve the pain or pressure. This is your body preparing for contractions.
Your abdominals are like a waist trainer that wraps all the way around your core, back included. I found that straddling a chair or your spouse can provide some temporary relief.
BURST OF ENERGY
Often referred to as 'nesting,' many women describe a wave of energy and excitement in the weeks prior to delivery. You'll start to clean up the house, re-organize the baby's room and feel a sense of urgency to get things done.
THE MUCUS PLUG PASSES - AKA "THE BLODDY SHOW"
Don't be alarmed, but when you're mucus plug passes, you are about 3 days away from delivery. Your plug may pass in pieces, so don't jump to conclusions too early. My mucus plus was breaking down 2 weeks before I actually had my 'show.'
You'll be able to tell the difference between little pieces breaking down and the actual mucus plug because the size of the mucus plus will be similar to a regular/ light tampon. (The cotton part - not the whole application)
Contractions aren't always the best sign for a pending delivery because they can last for weeks before baby comes. False labor is extremely common, especially if it's your first, but ALWAYS go to the hospital if you're unsure. Nobody plans on having a baby in the car.
Everybody compares them to stomach cramps similar to your being on your cycle, but I have a more accurate depiction. It's like holding in diarrhea when you have a horrible stomach ache. As women, the she-warriors that we are can push through some period cramps. But an upset stomach with no relief can bring a grown man to his knees.
Yuck, but soon enough, bodily fluids won't bother you. You'll be catching your child's throw-up in your hands without a second thought. Many women feel the urge to have bowel movements or have loose stools in the days preceding labor. It's your body's way of your body 'clearing you out' before baby arrives.
Though the movies make it seem like the grand rapids just start gushing out of your vagina. It may actually just be a slow stream. Be mindful of having to change your panties numerous times throughout the day.
It may be hard to distinguish between amniotic fluid and urine, but amniotic fluid has a distinct smell. If you are leaking amniotic fluid, it's vital that you go to your physical or labor and delivery ward right away.
There are plenty of hospital bag checklists online. They all pretty much say the same thing. There are also some maternity companies that will pack your bag for you. You just have to find the bag and contents that you like. Some may come with a nursing bra while others may have a going home outfit.
At the end of the day, buy/pack whatever will have you most comfortable at the hospital or birthing center. You got this mama!