If you’re like a lot of pregnant moms, you’re probably wondering how you’ll know for sure that you’re in labor.
Look out for the clear signs of labor that tell you baby’s on the way.
How will I know when I’m in labor?
Every woman’s experience of labor is different. You may only be able to work out when labor truly started after you’ve been through it! However, changes that take place in pre-labor and early labor may cause tell-tale signs and symptoms that labor is imminent.
Signs Of Labor
Look out for these 6 clear signs of labor that tell you baby‘s on the way:
You feel stronger, more regular contractions:
Regular contractions are a good indicator of labor. Early labor contractions usually feel like period pain, or you might experience a lower backache at 20 to 30 minute intervals. Sometimes these pains radiate from back to front, or vice versa. There’s no need to start timing the contractions straight away – if your contractions are mild, try to ignore them. Labor contractions tend to come at irregular intervals at first, but usually become more regular – this is why it helps to ignore early contractions. It avoids unnecessary disappointment and anxiety when the contractions aren’t progressing as you hoped.
Your cervix dilates:
Your cervix, too, is starting to prepare for birth: It starts to dilate (open) and efface (thin out) in the days or weeks before you deliver. At your weekly check-ups in the home stretch of your pregnancy, your provider may measure and track dilation and effacement via an internal exam. But everyone progresses differently, so don’t be discouraged if you’re dilating slowly or not at all yet.
You feel more cramps and increased back pain:
Especially if this is not your first pregnancy, you may feel some crampiness and pain in your lower back and groin as labor nears. Your muscles and joints are stretching and shifting in preparation for birth.
Your baby “drops”:
If you’re a first-time mom your baby will typically start to drop, or descend into your pelvis, a few weeks before labor begins (usually around two to four weeks before, but it can vary). In subsequent births, this “lightening” doesn’t often happen until you’re truly in labor. Your baby is getting into position to make his exit, ideally with the head down and low. You might feel like you’re waddling even more than you have been up until this point — and you may still be taking frequent bathroom breaks like you’ve probably been doing in third trimester because baby’s head is now pushing down on your bladder. . You might not even realize that your tummy has changed in appearance.
Even if you are not cold, you might experience shivering or trembling in early labor. The same thing can happen during or after birth, and can be frightening if you aren’t sure why it’s happening. It’s simply your body’s way of relieving tension and usually lasts only a few minutes. You can help by doing something relaxing, like deep breathing, or a having a warm shower or massage. Holding your breath to the count of 5 several times consecutively can also stop the shivers.
Your membranes may rupture with a gush or a trickle of amniotic fluid. Although this can happen long before labor starts, you should still call your maternity unit to let them know.
This is a period of feeling emotional, excited or moody. You may feel restless, anxious or impatient. You may also have disrupted sleep.