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Signs of Labor in a Second Pregnancy
While nothing in life is certain, there’s a good chance that your second labor will differ from your first in a number of ways. Both you and your uterus have been down this road before, so you know — or think you know — what to expect when labor starts. But second-time moms often have different labor experience than first-time moms — easier in some ways and harder in others.
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Most women having their second baby have more Braxton-Hicks contractions, the warm-up or practice contractions that “tone up” the uterus so it’s ready for real labor contractions, according to the Parents website. Because you experience so many more Braxton-Hicks contraction in the late months of pregnancy, you may ignore the signs that say this is the real thing until contractions become strong enough that you need to get to the hospital –and fast — or risk delivering in the minivan.
Early loss of Mucus Plug
Many second-time moms lose the mucus plug, the thick mucus that blocks bacteria from entering the uterus and possibly affecting the baby, before labor begins. This is because the cervix begins to efface, or thin, and dilate earlier in a second pregnancy, because of all those Braxton-Hicks contractions and because the cervix, like muscles elsewhere on your body, is flabbier than it was before your first delivery, explains the Parents website. While you may not have lost your mucus plug until you were in the hospital with contractions with your first baby, you may lose your mucus plug a few days — and sometimes even earlier — before contractions actually start with the second pregnancy.
Labor usually proceeds much more quickly with the second baby, a fact that catches some women unawares. While your doctor may have told you to stay home for a few hours with the first baby once labor began, he’ll probably have you hightail it into the hospital with the second as soon as it’s clear you’re in labor. The early stage of labor lasts 6.4 hours in first deliveries and 4.8 hours in subsequent labors. The active stage of labor, which starts when you reach 3 to 4 cm, lasts 4.6 hours in second and subsequent labors, as compared to 6.4 hours for the first, the UTHSCSA Family and Community Medicine Department states.
The second stage of labor, the pushing stage, may be extremely short in your second pregnancy. While the average pushing stage lasts 5 to 30 minutes in a multip, or woman who’s given birth before, compared to 30 minutes to 3 hours in a primip, or first-time mom, according to the University of Illinois Medical School, some multips don’t have to push at all before the baby appears. Of course, if your second baby is in an unusual position or is much bigger than the first, labor could be slower the second time.
No Signs of Labor in 41 Weeks
Generally the pregnancy lasts for nearly 40 weeks that is about 280 days from the 1st day of the last menstrual cycle.
Most of the pregnant women go into the labor within one week either side of the due date, but some pregnant women go overdue.
There will be some cases where there will be No signs of labor in 41 weeks. If you come across like this situation, don’t be worried and consult your doctor.
Membrane sweeping is sometimes called as the stretch or stripping and sweep of the membranes. If there is no sign of labor by 41 weeks of your pregnancy, your obstetrician will offer you a labor stimulation technique known as membrane sweep.
This technique consists of a vaginal examination, which helps in stimulating the womb neck to generate the hormones that may trigger the natural labor. When your doctor suggests this, you can discuss with your doctor about this and clarify your doubts.
Tests which are usually done at 41 weeks
Till you reach 41 weeks of your pregnancy, unless there is a problem, your general practitioner may not do anything. If you reach this particular week, your
General practitioner will do some tests to check the baby. These tests consist of biophysical profile and non-stress test.
- These tests may reveal the health and activeness of the baby and the amount of fluid. If everything is normal, your general practitioner may take a decision of waiting till you go into the labor on your own.
- These tests will also reveal if your baby is having any problem. Your doctor and you should decide if the labor induction is required.
Beyond 41 weeks
If still there is no sign of labor after the membrane sweep, your doctor will suggest a suitable date for inducing the labor. If you do not want this labor inducing method, and if your pregnancy progresses to 42 weeks or above, your baby and you will be checked. Your doctor will analyze that your baby and you are healthy by performing ultrasound and checking the heartbeat and movement of your baby. If the baby is not doing well, again your doctor will suggest the labor induction process.
Always the labor induction is planned in advance, so you will be having the chance to discuss the benefits and disadvantages with the midwife and doctor, and just ask them why they wanted to induce labor in you. The labor induction depends upon your choice.
Cryptic Pregnancy (“I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant!”)
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Believe it or not, it is sometimes possible for a woman to carry a baby all the way to term without ever realizing she is pregnant. This is called a cryptic pregnancy, and it happens more often than one might think; according to one study, one out of every 475 pregnancies is a cryptic pregnancy, unknown to the mother until after the 20 th week, and one pregnant woman out of every 7,225 learns of her condition when she goes into labor!
While most women experience typical pregnancy-related symptoms such as morning sickness, weight gain, and missed periods, some women either have no symptoms at all or experience such mild symptoms that they dismiss them or mistake them for some other condition. In rare cases women who are already in their third trimester make appointments to see a doctor because they don’t feel well, only to discover a surprising reason for their fatigue and upset stomach. The patient responds to the news with shock: “I didn’t even know I was pregnant!” she says … and her friends begin to suspect that maybe she’s not one of the sharpest knives in the drawer.
Not Noticing a Missed Period Caused by Cryptic Pregnancy
The first thing most people think when they hear about a woman who didn’t realize she was pregnant until she was about to give birth is, how could she possibly have failed to notice that she wasn’t getting her period? But not all women have equally regular menstrual cycles, and the regularity of those cycles can easily be affected by birth control (which is not always 100 percent reliable) or by obesity (see below).
Furthermore, spotting and light bleeding sometimes occur during pregnancy (although they are uncommon), and some women—especially those who have irregular periods to begin with—can mistake this for their period. Even if she does not experience bleeding, a woman who is accustomed to irregular menstruation may not notice the stoppage of her periods for a couple of months, and when she does notice, she may attribute it to stress. Also, perimenopausal women (women in the early stages of menopause, whose bodies are transitioning into the infertile stage of their lives) sometimes believe incorrectly that menopause is completely behind them and that they can no longer get pregnant.
False Results from Pregnancy Tests
As has been discussed elsewhere on this site, pregnancy tests sometimes produce false negative results if they are taken too soon after conception, or if the woman taking the test fails to follow the instructions properly. Pregnancy tests are designed to detect the hCG hormone, which does not appear in the body at detectable levels until a few weeks after conception has occurred. Also, sometimes they are negative for a few minutes after the test, but 15 minutes later (by which time they are usually in the trash) they finally turn positive.
Gaining Weight Without Realizing You’re Pregnant
Carrying a fetus all the way or nearly all the way to term without realizing it is more common in women who are overweight or obese; the more weight you’re carrying to begin with, the more easily you can fail to notice if you gain a few more pounds. Of course the protruding, rounded appearance of a pregnant woman’s belly looks very different from the ordinary sort of weight gain normally attributed to poor eating and exercise habits, but while most women’s bodies acquire this shape during pregnancy, some do not.
It also bears repeating that women who are overweight often experience menstrual irregularities. This is because fat stored in the buttocks and abdomen manufactures a chemical called androstenedione, which is then transformed into estrogen, throwing hormones out of balance.
True Stories of Women Who Didn’t Know They Were Pregnant
In September of 2012, a British soldier named Lynette Pearce gave birth to a baby boy on the front lines of an Afghan war zone. The child was born six weeks prematurely, and Pearce had not suspected she was pregnant prior to going into labor.
That same month, another Englishwoman, twenty-six-year-old Kayley Straker, began to experience severe abdominal pains, which a nurse at the National Health Service told her over the phone were just chronic constipation for which she should take prune juice. Hours later, Ms. Straker was in the hospital giving birth to a baby boy. She claims that her periods were consistent throughout her pregnancy, and that she never got a “baby bump.”
In October 2013, twenty-two-year-old Nadia Watson of Somerset, England woke to excruciating pains that she assumed were menstrual cramps—until she collapsed and went into labor on her bathroom floor. In the throes of childbirth pains without the benefit of medical pain relief, she screamed so loudly her neighbors called the police—while her boyfriend slept soundly in the next room, oblivious to the entire drama. Throughout her pregnancy Ms. Watson gained very little weight, remaining a size 10 even on the day she went into labor (in American terms that’s a size 8). She had experienced some back pain, but like Ms. Straker, she claims to have gotten regular periods throughout her pregnancy. The most likely explanation in both women’s cases is that they were experiencing the kind of light bleeding and spotting that occurs in many women’s pregnancies, and mistook this for menstrual bleeding.
In December 2013, a woman named Amanda went to see her doctor for severe lower back pain. She had a history of rheumatoid arthritis, so back pain was normal to her. She had been working 12- to 15-hour days at Wal-Mart since receiving a promotion a few months before, and she was not eating well. She was also using Depo-Provera for birth control, a method well known to cause a complete absence of periods. Fifteen minutes after the doctors figured out she was in labor and got her transferred to the birthing unit, she gave birth to a 6 lb. 8 ounce baby girl!
Other Missed Signs of Cryptic Pregnancy
Other factors that can contribute to a woman not knowing she’s pregnant include:
- Ignorance: while most women understand that pregnancy means their periods will (probably) stop and that their bodies will change shape, not all women are well-informed enough to notice subtler signs such as breast tenderness, constipation, etc. If the woman does not gain much weight and she continues to bleed while pregnant, she may not realize she is pregnant.
- Failure to feel fetal movement. If the placenta is positioned at the front of the uterus (this is called an anterior placenta), the baby’s movements may not be felt as plainly. Also, when a woman truly believes she cannot become pregnant (due to her use of an IUD, or due to many years of trying without success, for example), she can fail to correctly interpret fetal movement, and can convince herself it is just indigestion or gas.
Possible Complications of Not Knowing You’re Pregnant
If you are experiencing some pregnancy symptoms but not others, or even if you just “don’t feel right,” you should make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. A woman who is pregnant needs to take care of herself in specific ways; she needs to eat right and abstain from smoking, narcotics, and especially alcohol while she is pregnant. A woman who drinks every day during pregnancy risks giving birth to a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome.
It is also important that you begin seeing an ob-gyn as early in your pregnancy as possible so that you can be tested for a number of potentially serious pregnancy complications, including:
Http://theurbanmama. com/forum/post/427-signs-of-labor-1267950801.html? pg=0
Http://www. livestrong. com/article/284267-signs-of-labor-in-a-second-pregnancy/
Http://www. thepregnancyzone. com/pregnancy-weeks/no-signs-of-labor-in-41-weeks/
Http://www. pregnancycorner. com/being-pregnant/cryptic-pregnancy. html