1. Mucus Plug: (Think of it as a cork for your cervix. When labor is near... Pop goes the plug!) The mucus plug is just what it sounds like, a plug made of mucus. During pregnancy, the mucus plug develops and lodges in the cervix to block the cervical canal. Its job is to protect your uterus from unwanted bacteria and pathogens that could enter in, like from sexual activity or vaginal exams.
2. Bloody Show: (Blood-tinged mucus passes through the vagina at the end of pregnancy) Often confused with the mucus plug, the bloody show is a different gross goo that usually shows its less-than-lovely self at the very end of labor. "This gelatinous blood comes from a combination of secretory sources -- the cervix dilating, the vagina stretching and the uterus continuing to expel its contents.
3. Stripping Your Membranes: (Your doc may sweep a few fingers around your cervix to help jump-start labor) Membrane stripping is done to try to start labor. Your health care provider may suggest stripping your membranes if continuing the pregnancy seems dangerous for your health or your infant's health. Sometimes membrane stripping is done to prevent a woman from going past 42 weeks of pregnancy. If you are pregnant after 42 weeks, there are more risks for the health of the infant.
4. Water Breaking: (That trickle you feel when your amniotic sac ruptures isn't actually water--it's amniotic fluid) When your water breaks you might experience a sensation of wetness in your vagina or on your perineum, an intermittent or constant leaking of small amounts of watery fluid from your vagina, or a more obvious gush of clear or pale yellow fluid.
5. Ring of Fire: (Burn, baby, burn! That feeling when your vaginal opening stretches to let baby's head pass through) This one is pretty much what it sounds like -- a burning sensation in your vagina resulting from all the tension and pressure of your baby crowning. And though it sounds pretty freaky and not an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday night, getting to the crowning/ring of fire stage is actually pretty amazing, because it means you probably have only a push or two to get baby out. Then all the burning and pressure will subside.
6. Vaginal Tearing: (95% of first-time moms experience some form of tearing "down there" during delivery) A vaginal tear most commonly occurs during the birth of a baby, when the baby’s head stretches the opening of the vagina. Often the walls of the vagina can stretch sufficiently without breaking, but if not then there is a danger that a tear can occur. During the birth doctors may carry out an episiotomy, which involves making an incision in the perineum, the area between the rectum and the vagina.
7. Crowning: (The moment when baby's head begins to emerge from the birth canal) During delivery, your baby’s head will begin to show through your vaginal opening with each contraction. When your baby’s head remains visible without slipping back in, it is known as crowning.