Less than 5 percent of women give birth on their actual due dates, which means your baby could come a few hours from now or not for another two weeks. But you're probably so attuned to the possibility of labor that every little twinge makes you think: "Is this it?!'" Labor may begin in several ways: mild cramps (the most common scenario), your water breaking, or, if you have a scheduled induction or C-section, a trip to the hospital. Keep in mind that labor has three stages, and when you get to the hospital you'll likely be in active labor (the second phase of the first stage), during which your cervix dilates from 3 or 4 centimeters to 7.
Even if you've been imagining for months how your labor will go, chances are it won't go anything like you've planned. For example, your water might break, but if you're not having any contractions, you might need to be induced. Or maybe your labor will progress so fast that there'll be no time for an epidural, even though you were planning on getting one as soon as you set foot in the hospital. Be prepared to go with whatever unfolds. And know that even if you do experience a little delivery-day drama it will all become a cherished and oft-recounted part of your baby's birth story.
It's Week 39, and ladies and gentlemen, we've got ourselves a full term baby! This means you have full permission to start giving birth now... If only it was as easy as willing it to so. Nope, the baby likes to come when the baby is ready, and sometimes that can feel like never. You get your hopes up with every Braxton Hicks contraction, only to be disappointed when they go absolutely nowhere. So is there a way to help labor on its way from home? Yes—sometimes.