Every pregnancy is different, so is the beginning of labor and the symptoms that come with it. Here are some signs indicating that labor has started.
Normal labor begins as early as three weeks before or two weeks after the due date. The first signs may appear 3 to 4 weeks or a few hours before delivery. It even happens that the baby arrives without any warning.
1. Regular Contractions
The most telling sign that your labor is about to start is the appearance of contractions that occur less than 10 minutes apart. These contractions mean that your labor is about to begin and it’s time to go to maternity care.
Unlike Braxton Hicks contractions which can occur all over the pregnancy, early contractions are more intense, more frequent, occur in tight spaces and, most importantly, are regular!
2. Fluid Loss
Once the amniotic sac around the baby breaks, fluid can be seen leaking from the vagina. It usually occurs 24 hours before the beginning of labor. Fluid may leak out by gushing or possibly by drip.
You are probably losing your water! You can feel a clear, warm, and odorless liquid running down your legs. It’s time to go to the maternity room! Baby is no longer protected from infections, and labor, if it has not already started, should start very soon.
If the fluid is colored or smelly or if you see more blood, you should contact the doctor for assistance, as the baby may require urgent care. It is also advisable to inform your physician of fluid loss even if contractions have not yet started.
3. Frequent Urination
In the last weeks before delivery, your baby will start to move down to the pelvis in order to place himself in the delivery canal.
Its travel may occur 3 to 4 weeks before the birthday for the first-time mothers or only within hours before the beginning of labor for women who have previously delivered.
When your baby is moving down, he probably tends to press on your bladder. This can lead to urgent and frequent urge to urinate! No need to panic: you still have a few more good days before you go to the maternity hospital!
4. Easy Breathing
When the baby’s head goes down into the pelvis, your belly may seem lower and the bottom of the uterus that was compressing your lungs is less visible.
As a result, the pressure you felt on your lungs during your pregnancy disappears and you feel like you are breathing better! Once again, if your baby arrives soon, you still have a few quiet and good days to enjoy!
5. Mucus Plug Discharge
The brownish mucus plug is discharged from the cervix. The mucus plug is a sticky and gelled substance that secures the cervix orifice by blocking bacteria from getting into the uterus.
Its expulsion thus refers to the uterus moving, such as dilation or contractions. In most women, the mucus plug is expelled far before labor starts, usually one week to 10 days before meeting the baby.
As it is mixed in small doses with blood, the mucus plug appears as a brownish color; hence, if more blood is released, you should contact your doctor immediately as it is a warning sign. Labor may start immediately or may last a few days.
6. Frequent Intestinal Movements
Prostaglandin is an unsaturated fatty acid involved in the process of uterus contractions: this hormone allows the cervix maturation in particular. However, this also has an impact on intestinal stimulation.
As a result, when the expectant mothers are close to childbirth, they usually need to use the bathroom more frequently to empty their bowels.
So it’s another sign that labor will begin. Hormones that cause the uterus to contract may occasionally produce diarrhea. Increase your fluid intake and avoid sugary drinks to help improve your condition.
Two signs should alert you: fluid loss and the appearance of intense and regular contractions. If you experience any of them, go ahead to the maternity room without any further delay.
It is not always easy to distinguish between true and false labor. If you are in doubt, consult your healthcare provider. Sometimes, cervix examination is the only obvious way to determine whether or not it is real labor.
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