Many women see 37 weeks as a milestone.
You could (and may) give birth any day now, but you may just as easily have to wait another 5 weeks (at most) for your baby to be born! Most women give birth after their due date.
The first contractions feel like mild cramps or stitches. If the contractions start lasting longer, occurring more frequently and gradually become more painful, then it won't be much longer now before you can hold your baby.
Labour can start in various ways. Sometimes it can start with your waters breaking, but that is not necessarily the case. Labour often starts with frequent Braxton Hicks contractions followed by stronger labour contractions.
You may have a show. This is when the mucus plug which has sealed the cervix and protected the womb against infection throughout your pregnancy, is released, possibly together with a streak of blood.
Many women have a show a few days or weeks before labour starts. The mucus plug could come away in one clump, which you might notice in your underwear or the toilet. You could also lose a little stringy clear discharge at a time, possibly with streaks of blood, over a period of several weeks.
There is no need to call the midwife. Of course, you could mention it at your next antenatal appointment.
By no means has everyone had a show first. In fact, plenty of women never even find a trace of it.
If you do lose the mucus plug, this is still no indication of how soon labour will start. It could even take weeks.
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