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9 Signs Of Early Labor You Must Be Aware Of!

tell tale signs of early labour

 

The timing of your baby’s arrival into this world is not fully predictable; although full-term is considered from weeks 37 to 40, some babies come early while others arrive past 40 weeks. It is important to be aware of the signs of early labor, and never be afraid to call your doctor to check if you should be heading to the hospital.

 

#1 Baby “Dropping”

 

The baby is still in your uterus; however, to prepare for delivery, the baby will move (head first) lower into the uterus. This process is also known as “lightening”. The increased pressure may cause you to take more frequent trips to the bathroom, but at the same time, you may feel that it is easier to breathe as the baby moves further from your lungs.

 

#2 Energetic

 

You may actually feel energetic and start to prepare for your baby’s arrival. According to Mayo Clinic, this is known as the nesting instinct. It is important though to not wear yourself out and save energy for labor!

 

#3 Lower Back Pain

pregnancy complications

 

As your baby moves lower in the pelvic area, you may experience lower back pain and discomfort at the groin area. Your ligaments will also soften to make room for your baby.

 

At times, the lower back pain, the weight of your baby and the seemingly looser joints may make movement difficult. Be careful and hold onto some support if you are taking the stairs or walking on uneven ground.

 

#4 Diarrhea

 

The hormones that help to prepare your body for birth also stimulate bowel movements. You may experience diarrhea, even during labor. Keep hydrated by drinking fluids and inform your doctor if the diarrhea gets serious.

 

#5 Dilation of Cervix

 

The cervix has to thinned and then be dilated but this happens slowly in the few weeks before labor, and more rapidly during labor. Your doctor will check your cervix during regular check-up, as well as during labor.

 

#6 Contractions

 

pregnancy prenatal test to take

The contractions that are mild, irregular and short-lasting are called Braxton Hicks contractions, experienced weeks before labor. These are not the labor contractions but help to prepare your body for the real thing.

 

Labour contractions are much stronger, more frequent, intense, painful and longer-lasting. The pain may start at your lower back and move to your lower abdomen. Labor contractions do not go away if you change your position, drink fluids but instead persist and occur every five minutes or less, and last for about a minute.

 

#7 Vagina Discharge

 

The vaginal discharge to look out for is the release of the mucous plug, which serves like a cork sealing the cervix opening. It is also known as the “bloody show”, where the mucus streaked with blood is a sign that labor is starting.

 

#8 Shivers

 

Some women also experience involuntary shivering, even when they are not cold. This is a sign that your body is releasing tension and lasts only for a few minutes. It is therefore important to talk to the hospital beforehand on how they can help to make you more comfortable, like providing a tub for a warm bath.

delivery process

 

#9 Water Breaks

 

 

The water breaking is when the amniotic fluid starts to leak. You may be able to wait awhile if the fluid leakage can be contained with a sanitary pad, i.e. you may want to take a shower and grab something to eat. However, if the fluid gushes or the fluid has brown or green color, go to the hospital immediately.

 

Not all the signs may be apparent, for instance, the baby moving lower into the uterus may not be felt and the water breaking (contrary to popular belief) isn’t one of the first signs of labor. The signs that would prompt you to treat it as an emergency are bright-red bleeding, colored amniotic fluid (a sign that newborn’s first stool is present in the fluid) or unusual symptoms like headache, vision changes and unusual body swelling (signs of preeclampsia).

 

Lastly, there is no need to be embarrassed if you get the signs wrong and are not in labor – your doctor and nurses are very used to false alarms!

 

Written by Mei

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