Pregnancy and Postpartum

Prenatal Care

Checking Your Baby’s Movements

Feeling your baby move is reassuring. From about the 7th month of pregnancy and onward, you should notice periods of movement throughout the day, every day. You may want to write down “active” in a diary or on your calendar, for morning, afternoon and evening.

If you notice a decrease in your baby’s movement, or less than ten movements in twelve hours, you should:

  • Lie down on your left side and pay attention to the baby’s movement. You can put your hands on your tummy to feel for them. Count for as long as it takes to feel 3 or more.
  • You should feel 3 or more moves, kicks, rolls, flutters, or stretches in an hour.
  • If your baby does not move 3 or more times in this hour, call your doctor, midwife or go to the hospital the same day.

Labour and Birth

Prelabour and True Labour: What’s the Difference?

Late in pregnancy as your body gets ready for delivery you may experience a burst of energy (nesting urge) and contractions or cramps that do not progress (they do not become longer, stronger and closer together). Your uterus may tighten (contract) and relax for hours or even days.

Sometimes called “false labour”, this pre-labour can be tiring and confusing. If you feel contractions, get up and walk around to see if they continue or if the time between them becomes longer. If the time lengthens, you are probably experiencing prelabour. If the time between contractions becomes shorter, you may be starting true labour.

Still not sure? The following comparison chart should help:

True LabourPre-Labour
Uterine Contractions• Become longer, stronger and closer together with time

• Accompanied by increasing discomfort or pain in your abdomen, back and/or thighs

• Rarely last longer than one minute in early labour

• Often accompanied by increasing restlessness

• Are not reduced by mother’s activity and don’t subside because of a change in activity
• Tend to stay at about the same length, strength, and frequency

• Are usually not painful. If painful, the pain stays at the same level

• May last 30 seconds to four minutes

• May be accompanied by “restless” backache

• Are affected by change in mother’s activity; will subside as the mother becomes more or less active
Show• Blood-tinged mucus is often present before or during early labour• May have bloody show, increased watery or mucousy vaginal discharge
Intestinal Symptoms• Frequent soft or loose bowel movements, often mistaken for stomach upset• May have soft or loose bowel movements
Changes in the cervix
(determined by a vaginal exam
by your health care provider)
• Progressive effacement or thinning

• Progressive dilation or opening
• Cervix may move forward, soften and thin

• Possible dilation of 1 to 2 cm

Another sign that labour will start soon is your water breaking (rupture of membranes). You may experience small leaks or a sudden gush of fluid. Any suspicion that your membranes have ruptured should be reported to your health care provider (doctor or midwife). If you are still unsure about labour or rupture of membranes, call your health care provider.

Postpartum Care


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