Signs of Labor
Strong, frequent contractions, bloody show, and water breaking are early warning signs of impending labor. Other early signs of impending labor include: Baby drops, increased back pain, and weight gain.
What is labor?
The process of childbirth begins with contractions, and as you get closer to your due date, you may notice some subtle physical signs of early labor. Signs of early labor can appear anywhere from hours to days before you transition into active labor and the arrival of your baby.
Strong, frequent contractions
If you’re not sure whether you’re having actual labor contractions or practice Braxton Hicks contractions, assess the frequency, intensity, and location of the pain. If you’re still not sure, ask yourself the following questions: Are the contractions evenly spaced?
The mucus plug is the cork that seals off your uterus from the outside world, and it can come out in one large piece or many small ones, though you may not see it. Increased and/or thickened vaginal discharge is an early sign of impending labor.
Belly and lower back pain
You might experience severe menstrual cramps, stomach upset, or lower abdominal pressure, as well as pain radiating down your legs from your lower back.
Membranes rupture and amniotic fluid leaks after other labor symptoms have started for most women, and water breaking is one of the last signs of labor for most women. Water breaking can feel like a trickle or a gush for some women.
Early signs labor is near (but hasn’t started yet)
If you’re expecting a baby in the coming weeks or are about to become a first-time mother, keep an eye out for these early signs of labor, also known as pre-labor symptoms (or pre-baby symptoms).
Expect your baby to drop a few weeks before labor if you’re a first-time mom; in subsequent births, this “lightening” doesn’t usually happen until you’re truly in labor. Your baby is getting ready to exit, ideally with his head down and low.
Cervix begins to dilate
Your cervix begins to dilate (open) and efface (thin out) in the days and weeks leading up to your delivery. Everyone progresses differently, so don’t be discouraged if you’re only dilating slowly or not at all.
Cramps and increased back pain
As labor approaches, you may experience cramping and pain in your lower back and groin, especially if this isn’t your first pregnancy, as your muscles and joints stretch and shift in preparation for delivery.
The pregnancy hormone relaxin has made your ligaments loosen up a little, so you may notice that your joints all over your body feel a little less tight and more relaxed before you go into labor. This is just nature’s way of opening up your pelvis for your little passenger to make his way into the world.
It’s completely normal and a good sign, as long as you stay hydrated and remember that it’s all part of the prelabor preparation process.
Weight gain stops
Lower levels of amniotic fluid, more bathroom breaks, and increased activity can cause weight loss early in the pregnancy, but it will have no effect on the birth weight of your baby.
Fatigue and the nesting instinct
It can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep while pregnant, and some moms experience a burst of energy (also known as the nesting instinct) as their baby’s birthday approaches, which is fine as long as you don’t overdo it!
Am I going into labor? Should I call the doctor?
You’ll be seeing your doctor or midwife more frequently now, and she’ll be able to help you recognize the key signs. If you think you’re in labor but aren’t sure, call your provider; he or she can explain what’s going on and have you come in if there’s any doubt.
What is preterm labor?
Preterm labor occurs before a woman’s 37th week of pregnancy, despite the fact that the vast majority of pregnancies u2014 about 90% u2014 make it to week 37.
Can I be in labor and not know it?
Every labor is different, but if you’re unsure, call your practitioner and have your cervix checked out. Most of the time, a mother’s contractions will help her along the way to labor.
Natural ways to help labor along
Walking, sex, spicy food, and acupuncture are some natural methods for inducing labor that you can try at home. However, there isn’t much research to back any of these methods up, so always consult your doctor first.
How do contractions feel when they first start?
True labor contractions typically feel like a pain or pressure that starts in the back and moves to the front of your lower abdomen, unlike Braxton Hicks, which ebb and flow. Your belly will tighten and feel very hard during true labor contractions.
What are some signs that labor is nearing?
Keep an eye out for these ten signs that your baby is on the way:
- Cramps and increased back pain.
- Loose-feeling joints.
- Weight gain stops.
- Fatigue and “nesting instinct”
- Vaginal discharge changes color and consistency.
Where do early Labour pains start?
Contractions or tightenings, a “show,” when the plug of mucus from your cervix (entrance to your womb, or uterus) comes away, backache are all signs that labor is starting.
Is it a contraction or baby moving?
It’s most likely a contraction if your entire uterus is hard during the cramping; if it’s hard in some places but soft in others, it’s more than likely the baby moving around.
How do you feel 24 hours before labor?
Low back pain, weight loss, diarrhea, and, of course, your water breaking are all signs that labor is 24 to 48 hours away as the countdown to birth begins.
How can you tell if your baby will be early or late?
Early Signs of Labor: Your Body Is Preparing to Give Birth:
- The baby is born.
- You have a strong desire to start a family.
- You stop gaining weight.
- Your cervix dilates.
- Worsening back pain.
- Loose joints and increased clumsiness.
Does the baby move alot before labor?
Your baby moves less: Many women notice that their baby is less active the day before labor begins, for reasons that no one knows about; it’s possible that the baby is conserving energy for the birth.
How can I make myself go into labor right now?
Natural methods for inducing labor
- Have sex. Sex is frequently recommended for starting labor.
- Try to relax.
- Eat something spicy.
- Drink a little castor oil.
- Schedule an acupuncture session.
- Ask your doctor to strip your membranes.
Can you be in labor and not know it?
It’s unlikely that you’ll go into labor without warning; instead, your body will alert you that the big day is approaching, so you can prepare your hospital bag and be ready to go to the hospital when the time comes.
Can you sleep through early labor?
If you’re starting to feel contractions at night, our general rule is to sleep as much as possible; most of the time, you can lay down and rest during early labor. If you wake up in the middle of the night and notice contractions, get up and use the bathroom, drink some water, and then GO BACK TO BED.
Does laying down slow labor?
Gravity works against you, and the baby is more likely to settle into a posterior position. Pain, especially back pain, may increase if you spend most of your time in bed, especially lying on your back or sitting up at a small angle.
What does it mean if your baby is very active in the womb?
All pregnancies and babies are different, but it’s unlikely that a lot of activity means anything other than your baby is growing in size and strength.
Can the baby moving feel like cramps?
Because the intensity and duration of pain from baby movements can vary greatly, don’t be surprised if you start to notice a new sensation, which may feel like a stitch or stomach discomfort.
Do contractions feel like poop cramps?
Early contractions may feel like period pain; you may have cramps, backache, or both; or you may just have aching or heaviness in the lower part of your tummy; you may need to poo or just be uncomfortable, and you won’t know why.