It’s the big event you’ve been happily (and nervously) preparing for months now: the birth of your baby! As you get closer and closer to your due date, every cramp and discomfort can leave you wondering: is this it? Am I in labor? How will I know when it’s time to grab my hospital bag and hurry to the delivery room? Even the most subtle changes can indicate that your baby’s on the way. We’ve rounded up some of the most telling clues.
3 Solid Signs of Labor to Look Out For
While there are some women who experience very distinctive signs of labor, others may not. There are many early signs of labor that can mirror typical pregnancy symptoms, making it tricky to pinpoint when labor begins. That’s where we come in to help! Here are some common indicators:
Your baby “drops”
You may feel what’s known as “lightening” a few weeks before labor starts, meaning the process of your baby settling or lowering into your pelvis. Your baby is making its way into the best position to make his or her exit, ideally with the head down low. You may feel like you’re waddling even more and may be taking frequent bathroom breaks because the uterus rests on the bladder even more after lightening.
You have a ‘show’
A ‘show’ is a… well… prettier way of saying you have a passing of the mucus plug. We tried to warn you. A mucus plug accumulates at the cervix during pregnancy and may loosen up a few days before labor starts. When the cervix starts to open wider, the mucus is discharged into the vagina and may be clear, pink or slightly bloody.
Your contractions become increasingly intense
At some point you may realize that constant crampy feeling that you’re having may be more than just regular cramps. They can change into consistent contractions that grow stronger, longer and more frequent as they cause your cervix to dilate. Time the space between contractions and head to the hospital or birthing center when they become about five minutes apart.
You may be feeling some false signs of labor if the contractions:
- Arrive at irregular intervals
- Are centered in your lower abdomen
- Don’t worsen over time
- Aren’t painful, or the pain recedes when you get up and walk around
- Don’t keep you from speaking
Thankfully, your body will give you some solid signs of labor when that momentous (and exciting!) moment comes.
Make An Appointment with My OBGyne.
My OBGyne wants to help you be prepared for what lies ahead with your pregnancy week by week. Make an appointment to talk to one of our physicians to find out what to expect over the 40 weeks of pregnancy and to make sure your experience is as wonderful, stress-free and natural as possible.