As your due date approaches, it’s normal to experience changes in your body that can happen over a few days or even suddenly! One thing that many people notice (or talk about) is the release of the mucus plug that has sealed your cervix. You may see this as a brownish or bloody discharge. This is one way your body prepares and communicates that it is preparing itself for labour. You may also begin to experience a clear fluid leak (or gush!) and/or belly tightening or contractions — all signs that your body is gearing up for labour. While these changes might not seem glamorous, they are a natural part of the process and nothing to be worried or ashamed about. Your maternity provider will likely review these with you too. To get a sense of what’s in store, check out the resources we’ve curated for you that may add value to your labour and delivery journey.
Managing the pain of labour can be an intimidating prospect, but it’s important to remember that generations of Life Givers before us have drawn on their inner power and potential to navigate this journey — and many have done it multiple times! While each person’s experience is unique, there may be helpful tips and tricks that others can share with you. Ultimately, your decisions during labour and delivery will be based on what works best for you and your baby. For example, in early labour, relief may be found from bouncing on an exercise ball, showering, position changes, walking, massage or TENS or sterile water injections in the lower back. So, while it’ll depend on your individual needs and preferences, there may be some alternative options that work for you. Check out this guide for more techniques to manage pain so you’ve got a sense of how you’d like to craft and control your experience. Your maternity provider will likely also offer you additional options and insights you can explore here — check them out so you have a sense of what’s available. Regardless of the pain and discomfort that is a natural part of the journey — we know you’ve got this!
Birth is a ceremony to celebrate new life — these are the milestone moments that we hope you’ll find yourself able to feel prepared and present to experience fully. For some communities, this is also an occasion to honour connection to those before us, be it family ties, ancestors or other loved ones. This may also be a time to create and take space for traditions and cultures to which we feel connected and from which we may get a sense of belonging, grounding, knowing, living, doing — and being. Whether in the hospital, at home, on or off traditional lands, we hope that you will be able to receive the respect, space and care to voice and do the things you’d like to do during this sacred time.
Along the way, you may have specific concerns — if your baby is positioned feet first (breech), if pushing is not progressing in an expected way, if you require other avenues for delivery — for all this and more, explore the topics that seem relevant for your situation. In addition to these reliable resources, your maternity provider may also have additional insights to help you feel even more supported during the birth of your baby.
It’s important to stay current on the latest COVID-19 procedures at your chosen delivery hospital. Both St. Paul’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital have resources available on their websites to help you understand what to expect during labour and delivery and any current precautions being taken. For some, this might seem like a relief, while for others, it might seem to be a barrier — knowing what to expect can help prepare you and your loved ones on the current status and if/how that might impact your birthing plan and wishes. Check out our COVID-19 page for more information.
As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, it’s natural to think about all the ways you’ll care for them. If you’re in the hospital after delivery, in addition to your loved ones, you may also have a circle of support from experienced professionals around you. From nurses who can showcase tips on bathing your baby to lactation consultants who may help make small adjustments that offer big returns. If these and other resources are available to you, feel free to take advantage of them. After all, babies don’t come with instruction manuals! (And even though we’re not a manual either), check out some of the reliable resources we’ve reviewed that may help prepare you for this next chapter.