(1) Lightening. This is the descent of the fetus into the brim of the pelvis
(dropping). Lightening occurs in the last 10 to 14 days of pregnancy in a primigravida.
It may not occur until actual onset of labor in multigravidas. The patient identifies it as
being able to breathe easier.
(2) False labor (Braxton-Hicks Contractions). This is intermittent uterine
contractions occurring at irregular intervals, which serve to tone the uterus.
(3) "Show." This is when the blood-tinged mucoid vaginal discharge
becomes more pronounced and red as cervical dilatation increases during labor.
(4) "Burst of energy." This is an increase in energy level. It occurs
approximately 24 hours before onset of labor. The patient should be advised to relax
during this time since labor will be starting soon.
(5) Rupture of membranes. This occasionally may be the first sign. Due to
the risk of the prolapse cord, the patient needs to be aware that she should come to the
hospital immediately even if she is not having contractions. If the membranes rupture
prematurely, it then becomes a complication.
(6) Frequent urination. This, again, becomes a problem in the last stages of
pregnancy. Pressure on the bladder is due to the enlarging uterus and the head settling
back into the pelvis.