The Last Weeks & Days Of Pregnancy

By Nancy Levy, RN, MS on March 12, 2007

You're in your ninth month of pregnancy, and you could go into labour at any time. If this is your first pregnancy, you're really wondering what to expect. Pre-labour, early labour and active labour occur on a gradual continuum.

You May:
  • Experience 'lightening' - more room in chest and upper abdomen.
  • Feel increased pelvic pressure and urinate more often.
  • Feel tired and anxious for the pregnancy to be over.
  • Want to put things in order ('nesting').
  • Have diarrhea and/or backache just before or as labour starts.
  • Prepare by packing bags.

Changes In Your Body:
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions (painless tightenings of the uterus) occur more frequently.
  • If this is your first pregnancy, the baby's head engages (descends snugly into the middle of your pelvis). If not, engagement usually occurs during labour, not before.
  • Baby's movement diminishes (It's run out of room!) Tell your doctor, however, about any very significant decrease in the baby's movements.
  • Cervix softens and may start to efface (thin out) and dilate (open) slightly.
  • 'Bloody show' occurs before or as labour starts. (The mucous plug which has sealed the cervical opening during the pregnancy is now pink or blood-streaked.)

Your Physician Or Midwife May:
  • Want to examine your cervix.
  • Ask questions about symptoms as labour approaches or begins. LB

Published in March 2007

By Nancy Levy, RN, MS| March 12, 2007

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