Signs of labor
Your body starts to prepare for labor months before birth. Some women notice symptoms for weeks before they go into labor and other women don't notice signs until they are in active labor.
There is no way to predict when your labor will start. Even experts don't fully understand what triggers labor to start.
The following signs can indicate that labor is near:
- Your baby "drops". This is also know as lightening, it means that baby has settled down into the pelvis to get ready for labor.
- Nesting- Many moms have the urge to clean their house or organize all of the baby's stuff.
- An increase in Braxton Hicks contraction can be a sign that early labor is coming soon. Braxton Hicks contractions will be irregular. They will be uncomfortable and mainly felt in the belly.
- You lose your mucous plug or have bloody show. The collection of mucous from your cervix falls out as the cervix starts to open. It is common for it to be blood tinged.
- Your water breaks. If your water breaks it is a sure sign that your labor is about to begin. Time to head to the hospital.
- Contractions are a sign that your labor has begun. Contractions will be regular, gradually increasing in frequency, length and intensity. Contractions will be felt in your back and in your belly. Early contractions feel very similar to menstrual cramps. Regular labor contractions will be longer, stronger and closer together.
- Cervical changes. During an examination your doctor will be able to feel for dilation and effacement of the cervix. Cervical changes are a sure sign that labor has begun.
Remember that you can have these signs of early labor for days or even weeks before you go into active labor.