The start of labor is not always how it is depicted in the movies! Many moms-to-be have a false belief that once labor starts, they will know it for sure. Well, that is not always the case. An expecting mama may just brush off some not-so-obvious signs as being part of the pregnancy.
Labor is different for each woman, and even for each different pregnancy for the same woman. Therefore, even if you are not having your first child, you could still miss certain signs that labor is beginning because this time around it could be drastically different than your previous experience.
Similarly, you shouldn't compare your pregnancy and labor to your friends' or family members'. What they went through could be remarkably different from how your body decides to start off labor.
You have to also remember that your due date is not an end all, be all date. Your labor could start two weeks prior to your due date (or even earlier, always safe to be on the lookout for signs) and even two weeks after your due date. The most important thing is to be aware of the signals that indicate that labor is starting! Read on and pay attention to what your body is telling you.
15 Starts Off Slow
Movies and television sitcoms lead us to have a false sense of what to expect when labor begins. We are falsely lead to believe that your water breaks, gushing everywhere and that contractions come on quickly and progress at a very fast rate.
For most pregnant women, especially those having their first baby, labor is not how it is depicted on the screen. Labor can often start off very slow. You may have contractions for a while before they become closer together and strong enough to send you to the hospital to finally give birth to your little one. It is best to pay attention to any and all symptoms, and just know that chances are that it will not happen so quickly that you have to have your baby on the side of the road!
14 What Just Fell In The Toilet?
You have probably been warned that you might pass your mucus plug before labor begins. However, nothing usually prepares an expecting mama for when this does actually occur, or on the flip side, when you do not see it in the toilet. A pregnant woman will likely pass her mucus plug before labor truly begins.
Here’s the thing with the mucus plug, it may shock you to see it in the toilet! Even if you know it is coming, seeing it does suddenly jump start your anxiety as you realize that the baby will be arriving before you know it. On the other hand, usually, you will not feel yourself passing the plug, which causes many women to not even notice that it was passed, and they flush it before they are even aware!
13 Desire To Nest
It almost seems silly to think that pregnant women suddenly have this desire to nest, to get everything for their bundle of joy ready and straightened out before he or she arrives. But nesting is actually a real thing.
It may come as a surprise to many expecting mamas that they do not experience this intense desire to nest until the baby is ready to arrive. For some pregnant moms, the start of labor can begin with the start of nesting. Some women state that they wait and wait to experience this feeling of nesting, only to find that it arrives when there is not a lot of time left to get things done! Therefore, if you are close to your due date and you have this overwhelming urge to nest overtake you, you may be meeting your little one soon!
12 Tightening In Abdomen
They say when you have real contractions, you will know it. While in many cases, this is very true, other times, contractions actually feel like a completely different experience than what is the mom-to-be expected. When pregnant women experience a tightening in their bellies, it could be contractions.
Sometimes, this tightening is not painful at all, other times it may be. It may not seem like actual contractions, but in many cases, it is. It is important to be aware of what labor can feel like. If you are experiencing tightening in your abdomen, and it does not go away or worsens, especially if you are near your due date, it is best to call your physician ASAP. You just may be having contractions that are a part of labor.
11 Terrible Back Pain
Being pregnant puts an incredible amount of strain on our lower backs. It is not uncommon to have back pain throughout pregnancy. But severe back pain? That could very well be part of the beginning of the labor process. Often, expecting mothers experience a wraparound effect, where they have pain and contractions that go from their lower back and wrap around to their belly. If this sounds uncomfortable, know that yes, it certainly can be!
Many pregnant women experience intense back pain when labor begins. Often referred to as back labor, it is a real occurrence that happens and can continue up until your baby is finally born! In fact, some expecting mamas only experience this back labor, and never have the traditional contractions that are so common with the rest of us.
10 Can’t Control Your Bladder
You are very pregnant, possibly very near your due date, or even past it, and urine is leaking from you. You cannot seem to hold it in. Guess what? That is probably not urine. That is likely the rupture of your amniotic membranes AKA your water is breaking.
Typically, when a pregnant woman’s water breaks, it is not this giant gush of liquid that comes out of her. Chances are that you will not be standing in the middle of the supermarket, flooding the place as your water breaks in a dramatic fashion - that is reserved for the movies! Usually, it is a small trickle or frequent drops. It is usually colorless and odorless, and many times is mistaken for urine. This is important to know because once your amniotic fluid starts leaking, the baby is at risk of infections and more. Head to the hospital or call your doctor asap.
9 You Gotta Go
Is not uncommon at all to feel a change in your bowel habits as labor begins. Having loose bowels, or diarrhea is often reported by pregnant women as they enter labor. Sometimes, having the runs is the first thing that happens, even before those contractions arrive and get closer and closer together.
The urge to have to use the toilet is a common symptom of early labor. It can often be accompanied by pelvic pain and pressure. Diarrhea may be uncomfortable and concerning, but it is not anything to be worried about. Your body is getting ready to loosen up and deliver that sweet baby of yours into the world! Just know that when your bowel movements change, you may be meeting that baby soon, so pay attention to your habits behind that bathroom door.
8 Baby Drops
It is pretty common to hear about people talking about the baby dropping as an indication that a mom-to-be will be going into labor soon. And they are right. If you feel like everyone and their mother is examining your belly to see if you have “dropped”, just know that it is a real thing!
The baby dropping refers to when the baby gets into position in the birth canal. That means the baby goes head first and causes the expecting mother’s belly to droop. Sometimes it is noticeable, other times it is not. Sometimes, a pregnant woman may feel this, others times she does not. Just know that this dropping has to occur for the baby to be born, and it means that labor is likely around the corner.
7 Joints Feel Looser
When you first get pregnant or even think about having babies, it always crosses any woman’s mind as to how in the heck the baby is going to get out of our bodies! We know that a female body is made to deliver a baby, but it can still seem a bit intimidated and nerve-wracking to actually think about the process of delivering a human being.
Well, one way that the body gets ready for the baby to be born is by getting all loose. This includes all of our joints. If a pregnant woman starts to feel like her pelvic joints, and others in her body, feel a bit looser than normal, that is a sign that the body is ready and telling you that labor will be starting pretty soon.
6 Stabbing Cramps
We have learned that not all contractions are created equal. Different women experience contractions differently, and even the same mom can experience different contractions from one pregnancy to another.
One type of contractions that indicate that labor is beginning is a feeling of a stabbing-like pain in the abdomen. This can alarm a mom-to-be, and she should certainly take care if she is experiencing stabbing-like pains. It likely means that contractions have begun and labor has started, but you always want to make sure when it comes to any pain in your abdomen. If the stabbing pains increase in intensity and get closer and closer together, that is certainly what contractions will do when labor is beginning! No matter what, call your doctor ASAP if you experience stabbing pains in your belly during pregnancy.
5 Need To Pee More Than Ever
Okay, we know, the need to pee is a constant issue throughout pregnancy, but can you imagine needing to urinate more than you already do?! Well, get ready, because that is exactly what happens once labor begins.
We know that the baby has to go into the birth canal in order to be born. Well, once the baby gets into position, you may find yourself needing a bathroom all the time. More than you have been experiencing already. This is largely to do with your baby putting even more pressure on the bladder than usual by “dropping”. The baby’s head is right on the bladder, making you want to pee just about all the time. Just know that this means that labor is right around the corner, and the baby is ready to be born.
4 A Ton Of Unexplained Energy
Pregnancy is exhausting. From the very beginning of pregnancy until your belly grows to astronomic proportions, many moms-to-be report low energy levels and the simple desire to do nothing but sleep all day long if they can. To suddenly experience incredible energy can shock many expecting mamas.
It is not uncommon at all to have lots of energy in the days leading up to labor. You might feel super excited and feel the need to get things done. This burst of energy is your body’s way of saying that labor has started. You need this energy to deliver your little one, that is for sure. Your body gives you signs that it is almost time, so if you are full of energy seemingly out of nowhere, you will probably be meeting that sweet baby of yours very soon!
3 Ignoring Signs Before Due Date
When you are pregnant, it is so important to pay attention to what your body is telling you. For each pregnant woman, labor is different. For each and every pregnancy, labor is different. Therefore, you cannot predict exactly how your body and this baby will decide to start off labor.
Sometimes, moms-to-be can brush off labor signs as merely the end of pregnancy troubles. Don’t ignore the signs. If things are changing in your body, it can mean that you are going into labor, even if you are nowhere near your due date. Do not ignore what your body is telling you. Try to be in tune with every aspect, it will make the journey that much more special, and will ensure that the baby - and you - stay safe and sound.
2 Hormones Are Crazy
This is not much of a surprise, is it?! We already know that our hormones fluctuate greatly throughout pregnancy, but what you may not realize is that it can worsen as labor begins. This is, again, an example of how our bodies are telling us that labor is beginning.
If you experience intense mood swings or other things that could indicate that your hormones are off the wall, there could be a very good reason for it, and that is that your baby is getting ready to be born! Crazy hormones can very well accompany the start of labor. And let’s face it, those hormones and the combination of the pain of contractions can make any mom-to-be someone to not mess with. Now, who is going to hold your hand??
1 Thinking Every Sign Means Labor
As expecting mothers, we worry about our little ones before they are even born. We watch the news and hear horror stories of babies being born far too early, or the women who have no choice to deliver their babies on the side of the highway.
Things like this can make some moms feel that any little pain or discomfort or change is the start of labor. While it is always best to be safe rather than sorry, sometimes we can be worrywarts and be a little too nervous. Not every sign or symptom that a pregnant woman experiences means that she is going into labor. Many do, but there are changes along the path of pregnancy that simply mean that your baby is growing and thriving, and you have nothing to worry about.
Sources: What To Expect, BabyCenter
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