For most moms, as the due date approaches, anxiety peaks. There are several questions that come into your mind. What if my water breaks when I am are unprepared?
How will I know when the labor has started? What if it is just a false alarm?
If you are having questions like these, then here are 10 signs of labor that you should watch out for:
These signs of labor occur a few weeks before your actual labor begins. This is usually 2-4 weeks before actual labor.
This is a pre-labor sign. You will actually feel the baby begin to drop into your pelvis. For some moms this may not happen until the actual labor begins. This is basically your baby preparing to exit the womb. You will feel like visiting the bathroom more often as there is more pressure on your bladder.
In this period, the cervix prepares for birth. This is a sign of labor that you will have to get checked with your doctor. The cervix will begin to thin out and stretch. Make sure you visit your doctor and have the cervix checked a few weeks before your due date.
For moms who are experiencing the first pregnancy, especially, back ache and cramping is common, especially in the lower back. This is because your bones begin to shift to prepare for birth and you will also feel the muscles stretch.
If you are wondering how will I know if labor has started, then look out for more clumsiness. Just before you get into labor, your joints will begin to feel relaxed and less tight. This is a natural way of opening your pelvis up to prepare for the baby to be born.
Now that your muscles are getting looser, even the muscles of your rectum will loosen up. This leads to diarrhea which can be extremely annoying. However, it is quite normal. All you need to do is make sure that you stay hydrated.
Towards the end of your pregnancy, you will also begin to stop gaining weight. In fact, in some cases, you may even lose a few pounds. This is also a common sign of labor that will not affect the birth weight of your baby. The reason you are losing weight is because you have lower levels of amniotic fluid and tend to use the bathroom more often too.
Your belly is super-sized by now. You also need to visit the restroom often. This can really make you feel exhausted like you just want to lay down and relax. If you are unable to get enough sleep, you can also use pillows to rest your belly. You can also take a lot of naps to rest well. On the other hand, some moms may also experience a burst of energy as the due date approaches.
You will also feel like organizing everything and cleaning up your space. This is a nesting instinct. So if you are thinking how will I know if labor has started, then these two contradicting signs tell you that you are getting closer to delivery.
Also read: 10 ways to ease labour pain during delivery
There is a change in consistency and color of the vaginal discharge
Usually, the first thing that happens is that your mucus plug will break. It comes out as a large chunk that is very similar in appearance to nasal mucous. You will also notice that your vaginal discharge becomes thicker. It may even turn pinkish in color. This type of mucous is called bloody show and is a sure shot sign that you will go into labor any time soon.
Your contractions close to delivery are stronger and do not ease up. They do not go away when you change positions. They also become more painful and frequent. This shows that you are closer to delivery. Of course, some women may also experience the Braxton Hicks contraction a few days before your delivery. But these contractions will ease up with time and are not as consistent. The contractions that you experience before labor is almost like a very strong menstrual cramp, located mostly near the lower abdomen.
This of course, is the most obvious sign of labor. Unlike what you would see in movies, your water will not break suddenly in the middle of a crowded place. You will experience several signs of labor and your water breaking is usually the last sign.
When you see any of these signs, you can give your doctor a call to confirm. They will be able to help you understand if it is truly time for you to visit the hospital.
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