Looking for signs of labor?
How will I know I am in labor or having fake contractions?
Dear mama-to-be, you might be experiencing multiple emotions at the present moment. You might be excited, nervous, confused, happy and afraid at the same time. Right?
Let’s first see what labor is?
Labor is the stage in pregnancy in which the body gets prepared to deliver a baby. The uterus contracts and these contractions become stronger and longer as you are to deliver a baby. These contractions help the baby to move through the vagina or birth canal out to the outside world.
So let’s just look into the signs of labor and see what you should except when you feel that your labor has started.
- You will have “show” in which the mucus plug of the cervix will break,
- Water breaks,
- Increasing lower back pain,,
- Contractions become stronger and longer and will not fade away,
- Urge to go to the toilet as pressure will develop in the pelvic area
- Baby drops or lightening
- Cervix dilation
The mucus plug of the cervix breaks resulting in a pinkish red vaginal discharge. It is also known as “bloody show”. This marks the beginning of first stage of labor. It can happen the several days before delivery or as the labor starts.
The baby is surrounded by the amniotic fluid in the mother’s womb. As labor approaches the amniotic sac ruptures and fluid is released as a gush or as drops. Women usually go in labor in 24 hours after their water breaks before contractions and labor. if your water breaks before 37 weeks then immediately contact your midwife or doctor
Increased lower back pain
Pregnant women feels back pain in their entire pregnancy but as the delivery time approaches this pain gets worse and severe as the baby is making its position in the pelvic area. The joints and ligaments also loosen as labor approaches so increased lower back pain then usual is also a sign of labor.
Real contractions and cramping
Real contractions should not be mixed up with fake contractions. The real ones are stronger, regular and longer. They usually come in a rhythmic way and the mom-to-be can monitor her contractions.
As contractions become strong the tummy gets hard and tight. These contractions allow the baby to move down and make position in the pelvic area just above the birth canal. As these contractions increase and come after every one minute or less it means you are in active labor and your baby is in the birth canal and you are ready to push. It’s better to follow the advice of your mid wife or doctor or birth partner in this state of labor.
Urge to use toilet
As pressure develops in the pelvic area a strong urge to use the toilet can happen as it effects the bowel movement and urination.
Baby drops or lightening is when the baby sets its head down position. The baby makes its position for delivery and the pressure on the mother’s diaphragm is reduced. This means that you can breathe well now as the baby has moved away from your lungs. The belly becomes protruding and feels much lower when the baby drops in the pelvic region.
In mothers expecting baby for the first time this dropping can occur 2 to 3 weeks before labor whereas for frequent mothers to be it can happen when they are actually in labor.
In labor with contractions the cervix dilates and opens for the baby to move out of the birth canal. Cervix dilation is slow in first time pregnancies but it is quite rapid in later pregnancies as the body is familiar with the phenomenon before.
Hope this article was helpful in understanding the signs of labor but is suggested to consult your doctor, midwife or birth partner if you experience any of the above signs. If you observe any heavy blood or different color vaginal discharge rather than pinkish or yellow brownish then do contact your doctor.
If you want to look for your due date then you can use due date calculator.
Best of luck with your labor and delivery.