Wondering what are the early signs of labor? Labor isn’t just your water breaking and contractions! So much happens leading up to the big day….
How do I know if labor is approaching? What are the signs labor is 24-48 hours away? How do you feel 24 hours before labor? Fret not! We got you covered…
You have been counting down the days till your baby’s arrival! When the time comes, you want to make sure you can recognize the signs that labor is approaching!
There are a lot of early labor signs that new moms are unaware of.
Even moms who have been through labor before can sometimes have a difficult time identifying the early signs of labor, as they can often be fairly vague!
Are your cramps from last night’s dinner? And that water tricking down your legs might just be from your baby pressing on your bladder, right?
To help you better figure out whether you are in the early stages of labor, or if you are just experiencing normal pregnancy woes, here are the signs to look out for that labor is approaching!
Signs Labor Is 24-48 Hours Away
1. You Experience Backache
This might not be the most obvious sign! Many moms suffer from dull backache in the last trimester as their baby grows and can be easily mistaken. However, back pain that comes and goes could be a sign that labor is approaching.
Backache might be a sign that you are experiencing back labor, which is when the contractions are more focused in your lower back, rather than in your abdomen, due to the way your baby is positioned.
As well as backache, you might notice some pain in your groin, which is caused by your muscles shifting and stretching to make way for childbirth.
2. Loose Ligaments
Relaxin, a hormone, is released throughout your pregnancy, works to loosen up the connective tissue that holds your joints and bones together. When it is time for labor, your pelvis will open to allow your baby to travel through it more easily.
As the relaxin starts to affect all of your joints, you will begin to feel a little clumsy as labor approaches. This is a harder sign for some moms to pick up on though!
3.You Lose Your Mucus Plug
The cervix is blocked with mucus during pregnancy, to help protect your baby. When labor begins, the cervix starts to dilate. This could cause the mucus plug to come loose and be released.
Your mucus plug could come away in one piece, or in lots of small little pieces. It could appear as a bloody show, which could be pink, brown, or red-tinged, and looks like discharge, which you would notice after urinating or on your underwear. Some moms don’t see their mucus plug at all.
However, if you do notice your mucus plug, it could mean that labor is a few hours away, or even a couple of weeks!
4. You Experience Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a sign of approaching labor that can be confusing, as it could also be caused by the food you ate the night before!
Diarrhea or loose stools are a common sign of approaching labor and is caused by the release of hormones called prostaglandins. It is also a way for your body to empty out your bowels, which allow the uterus to contract efficiently during labor.
A more unpleasant sign of labor approaching, but it is necessary!
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5. You Feel Contractions
Contractions are the squeezing and releasing of the uterus that help to encourage the cervix to dilate. Contractions help push your baby down through the birth canal.
It can be confusing to determine whether or not you are experiencing labor contractions or Braxton-Hicks. Braxton-Hicks contractions can happen weeks before you actually go into labor. These contractions are considered ‘false’ contractions and aren’t very strong or regular. They tend to come and go, and sometimes can be caused by hunger or dehydration.
Real labor contractions get stronger, longer, and closer together over time. They usually feel like a tightness which begins in the back and moves around to the front of the belly.
Labor contractions become more intense after a while. In fact, they can become so intense that it can be difficult to even talk when you are in the middle of a contraction!
If you believe you are experiencing contractions, your medical professional will ask you to time your contraction. This will help determine how far into labor you really are.
6. The Need To Rest
Many moms claim to have a big burst of energy just before they go into labor. This often includes you running around stocking up on groceries, cleaning the kitchen, re-packing baby clothes, and sanitizing the nursery. This feeling is called nesting and happens to so many moms as their due date approaches.
However, some women feel the exact opposite and feel like they need to constantly rest. It can almost feel as though you are coming down with the flu. If this happens, continue to eat well, rest when you feel you need it, and keep up hydration. You will need all the energy you can get for when labor does start properly.
Listen to your body, and if you feel a sudden change in your energy levels, it could be a good sign that labor is near!
7. Your Baby Drops
Your baby dropping, or lightening, is when your baby settles deep into your pelvis. He or she starts making their way down towards the cervix. This is their bit of preparation for when they need to be pushed out.
Dropping, or lightening, can happen a few weeks, or a few hours before you go into labor, but it is a good indication that labor is on its way!
Some moms find relief when their baby drops, as you are able to breathe easier as your baby won’t be pushing on your lungs. Although as the baby is now sitting lower, you might have to empty your bladder more often!
8. Your Water Breaks
Don’t expect your water to break in one big rush and your baby to pop out 5 minutes later. It definitely does not always happen like this.
Most women experience their water breaking as their first sign of labor, but it only happens in around 15 percent of births.
Your water might break all at once, or it might slowly trickle down throughout the day. Some women end up having their water broken for them in the hospital!
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