Signs of Early Labor

Is it time? How to tell labor will start soon? It’s the event you’ve been gladly expecting (and fearfully dreading) for months: Your baby’s birth! Many an expectant mama has wondered– and fretted– about signs of labor.

When will it take place? How will it feel? How much time will it take? And, typically: How will I know it’s time? It’s hard to forecast the answers to those first 3 concerns, because every birth is different. But for number 4, we can help. There are some clear labor signs to watch for. Pay attention and they’ll inform you: Baby’s on the way!

Pre-labor: One To Four Weeks Before Labor

1. Your baby “drops”

A few weeks prior to labor starts, your baby will begin to descend into your hips (for first-time mothers; in future births, this “lightening” does not typically occur till you’re genuinely in labor). Your baby is entering position to make his exit: head down and low. Yes, you might feel you’re waddling even more than you have been up till this point– and you may be back to taking really frequent restroom breaks like you did way back in your first trimester, because baby’s head is pushing down on your bladder too, according to However fortunately is you have a bit more breathing space, since baby is moving far from your lungs.

2. Your cervix dilates

Your cervix, too, is beginning to get ready for birth: It begins to dilate (open) and to efface (thin out) in the days or weeks prior to you provide. At your weekly check-ups, your service provider might measure and track dilation and effacement through an internal exam. But everybody advances differently, so do not be dissuaded if you’re dilating slowly (or not at all yet).

how to tell before labor starts

3. You feel more cramps and increased back pain

Especially if this is not your first pregnancy, you might feel some crampiness and pain in your groin and lower back as labor nears. Your muscles and joints are stretching and shifting in preparation for birth.

4. Your joints feel looser

Throughout your pregnancy, the hormone relaxin has actually made all your ligaments soften and loosen up (it’s likewise accountable for your bouts of clumsiness this past trimester). Before you go into labor, you may discover your joints all over your body feel a bit looser. Relax– it’s just nature’s way of opening your hips for your little guest to make his or her method into the world.

5. You have diarrhea

Simply as the muscles in your uterus are unwinding in preparation for birth, so are other muscles in your body– including those in our anus. That can lead to loose bowel movements. Though bothersome, this is normal; remain hydrated and remember it’s a good sign!

6. You stop gaining weight (or lose pounds)

Weight gain has the tendency to level off at the very end of pregnancy. Some moms-to-be even lose a couple of pounds! This is regular and won’t affect your baby’s birthweight. He’s still acquiring, however you’re losing due to lower levels of amniotic fluid, more potty breaks (see # 1 and # 8 on this list), and even increased activity (see # 7).

7. You feel extra-tired … or you have a desire to nest

Wait a minute, is this the third trimester or the first? In between the active bladder and the exhaustion, sometimes you can seem like you’ve taken a trip backwards in time. That super-size belly, along with the smooshed bladder, can make it hard (even impossible) to obtain a good night’s sleep during the last days and weeks of pregnancy. Pile on those pillows and take naps during the day if you potentially can! That is, unless you’re feeling the reverse of tired out: Some mommies get a burst of energy as birth-day nears, and can’t withstand the compelling desire to clean and arrange everything in sight. That’s all right, as long as you don’t overdo it!

Early Labor: The Hours Before Labor Starts

8. Your vaginal discharge changes color and consistency

In the last days before labor you’ll see an increased and/or thickened vaginal discharge. You might also notice the loss of your mucous plug– the cork sealing your uterus from the outside world. It can come out in one big piece (it looks similar to the mucous you have in your nose, but with faint streaks of blood) or great deals of kids (though you may not see it at all if you’re the flush-and-run type). This thickened, pinkish discharge is also called the bloody show and is an excellent indication that labor is imminent (though without labor contractions or dilation of 3 to 4 centimeters, labor might still be a few days away!).

9. You feel stronger, more frequent contractions

Contractions are an early sign of active labor– except when they aren’t. You can experience Braxton-Hicks contractions for weeks as well as months prior to delivery. You’ll feel their pinch as the muscles in your uterus tighten up in preparation for their huge minute (pressing that baby out!). How can you discriminate in between genuine and incorrect labor contractions? Try to find these signs of real labor:

  • If you’re active, contractions get stronger rather of reducing up.
  • If you change position, contractions don’t go away.
  • The contraction pain begins in your lower back and relocates to your lower abdomen, and potentially your legs.
  • Contractions development: They get more frequent and more painful, and sometimes fall under a regular pattern.

10. Your water breaks

You think you’ll discover you’re in labor only when your water breaks (obviously in the middle of a romantic dinner date at a hectic restaurant), that’s an extremely not likely situation. It’s actually one of the final signs of labor most women notice– and it takes place in less than 15% of births. So don’t count on it as your only labor sign!

Still feel like you won’t know when to announce “It’s time!” and get ready to satisfy your baby? Try not to stress about it. You’ll be seeing your doctor or midwife regularly now, and she’ll help you spot all the important signs.

Labor and Calling to Doctor

If you think you’re going into labor, your professional ought to have recommended you on what to do when your contractions end up being regular: “Call me when they’re happening five minutes apart for a minimum of an hour,” for instance. Contractions won’t all be exactly spaced, but if they are ending up being pretty constant, it’s time to check in with your doc. If you think you may be in labor but aren’t sure, get on the phone; your service provider can encourage you on what’s going on. Do not feel embarrassed or worry about calling beyond office hours (your doctor or midwife understood this would occur when she got into the baby-catching business!).

You need to always call if:

  • You experience any bleeding or bright-red discharge (not brown or pinkish).
  • Your water breaks– specifically if the fluid looks green or brown; this could be a sign that meconium is present (which is your newborn’s first stool; it can be unsafe if your baby breathes in or consumes it during birth).
  • You experience vision changes, a headache, or sudden or severe swelling. These can be symptoms of preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension.


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