Labor’s a tricky thing to navigate. It lasts some women days and others hours. It’s difficult to accurately estimate how your second delivery will progress. Many women find their second labor comes on quicker and that they delivered their babies faster. For other women, it’s the exact opposite. Your births can be similar, or two completely different experiences. If you know the general signs of labor, you can act accordingly so if your second baby’s coming in a hurry, you can act right away.
Attend all your prenatal appointments. You might find that you start labor or begin dilating weeks before it’s time to deliver without ever knowing it. Your doctor or midwife can clue you in on your progress so you can be on heightened alert.
Look for your water to break, but don’t rely on this happening as the definitive sign that your baby’s on the way out. As few as 10 percent of women experience the classic water gush like you see on TV, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If your water does break, contact your doctor right away.
Watch for your mucous plug, or bloody show. This is a more reliable sign of labor. It means your cervix has started to thin and open enough to let loose this protective material. Losing your mucous plus doesn’t mean you’re going to go into labor right now, but it can mean you’ll be ready in as soon as a few hours or within a few days.
Time your contractions.For a normal, healthy pregnancy, you can wait out your contractions at home and use them as a guide to tell you when it’s time to deliver. Watch as they move from 30 minutes apart to 15 minutes, to ten and finally to five. When they’re five minutes apart, call your doctor or midwife and get ready to travel to where you’ll deliver.
Look for signs your baby has dropped and moved into position. If you’re suddenly breathing more comfortably, but you’re now plagued with the urge to pee every 15 minutes, it could mean the baby’s making her way into position. You might be able see your belly dropping or notice your baby feels like she’s changed positions.