With the anticipation of the arrival of your new baby, you might be looking out for those long awaited pregnancy labor signs. Knowing whether you are in labor or not can be a challenge, especially if it is your first time being a mom. Below are some signs to look out for that could indicate that you are in labor. It could also indicate that your body is just preparing itself for the new coming baby so don’t get discouraged when you experience any of these signs and your not holding your new baby 24 hours later.
Let us start with a sure way of knowing if you are about to start labor. That way is if you break your water. When this happens, you will either feel a gush of water or a light ongoing trickle or leak of fluid. This is when your membranes rupture and labor usually begins a couple hours after.
Some other pregnancy labor signs although not as accurate as the above mentioned, can be:
1. Lightening – This is where the baby has dropped down and is beginning to settle into the pelvis preparing for birth. You will notice that your belly has dropped and the baby is low. You might also notice you are making more trips to the bathroom now. You will be able to breathe better and lie more comfortably on your side because when lightening happens, it releases the pressure from your diaphragm.
2. You might notice a spurt of energy – All of a sudden you find yourself cleaning your house, getting the nursery prepared or running frantically around cleaning and preparing your house for the new arrival of your baby. This is what is known as “nesting” and usually happens a week or two before labor begins. Some women have even experienced this days before their labor began.
3. You may lose your mucus plug – Although this is not generally considered one of the most common pregnancy labor signs, some women swear on it. Once they have lost this, labor shortly follows. Most women lose their plug a couple weeks before labor, although it is possible to lose it hours before labor or even during labor. The mucus plug is a thick stringy discharge usually either clear in color or with a pink tinged to it.
4. Dilation which is the opening of the cervix can be an indication of labor – Doctors measure this starting a month or two before your due date. Dilation ranges from zero (closed – no sign of labor) to 10 (fully effaced – baby is born). It has been said that once the cervix reaches 2cm dilation that labor could begin shortly, although the cervix can be dilated at 2cm for weeks to a month before labor even begins. Usually, a true sign of active labor is when your cervix reaches 4cm dilation. At this point, you are usually experiencing regular contractions and are probably on the way to the hospital.
5. Contractions – This sign can be the most discouraging as a lot of women who experience contractions end up being sent home due to false labor. You can tell the difference between real contractions and false labor by measuring the length of time between contractions, how regular they are and how intense they are. Contractions that last less than a minute and happen sporadically are generally an indication of false labor. You want to time your contractions and when they seem to get closer together and stronger in intensity, this could be a sign of labor and you should call your doctor. Your doctor will probably have you wait until your contractions are coming regularly every five minutes before having you go to the hospital.
Eagerly awaiting pregnancy labor signs only to be disappointed is a common thing in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Every woman anticipates the arrival of her new baby and usually drives herself crazy thinking every small twinge is a sign of labor. Do yourself a favor and just relax and enjoy the last few days or weeks of your pregnancy. Try to get some rest. Your baby will come when it is ready and your resting days will be soon over for a while anyway once your bundle of joy arrives.