How will my labour start? Common myths.

There are some common misconceptions about how labour starts, and in particular, how you will know. The first is that babies arrive on their "due date". The due date that you are given is not an actual predicted date that your baby will arrive: rather, it is an estimate of when your baby may arrive. Normal, term pregnancy lasts from 37 weeks until 42 weeks. This is a 5-week period. Other countries give women a "due period": that is, a period of time in which the baby may arrive. Only about 3-4% of babies are born on their due date. In my private practice, I find that most babies arrive in the 38th, 39th or 40th week.

Having a show Some women believe that once they have had a show, their baby will arrivw. There is some truth in this, as all babes will arrive eventually. However, a woman can have a show a couple of weeks before the baby comes. Having a show does not mean you are in labour, although a show can happen when you are in labour, particularly as your cervix approaches full dilation.

Breaking your waters does not mean you are in labour or that your baby will be born imminently

For some women, their waters break some time (many hours or even days) before the baby arrives, and even before labour starts. For most women, however, the waters break right at the end of the first stage of labour, as your cervis is almost fully dilated. Waters breaking is not related at all to labour starting; they are two separate processes that often occue together, but waters breaking is not a labour sign.

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