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Top 10 Labor Signs and Symptoms

calendarJuly 21, 2016
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Signs of Early Labor

Pregnancy has a normal duration of 40 weeks. However, labor could start earlier or get delayed, so you should know its signs and pay attention what is happening with your body. Even the earliest signs of labor show that you should be prepared to go to the hospital soon.

Early Signs that Labor is Near

During the last weeks of pregnancy your body is constantly preparing for giving birth. So, you will notice many signs that labor is near, these are 10 early signs of labor:

1. The Baby Drops in Your Belly

In the last few weeks you will feel that your baby has started to descend into the pelvis. This means that it takes its position to exit your belly with its head down. You will probably feel the same need of frequent urination just like in the first trimester (1st week - 13 weeks). The baby’s head is now pushing your bladder, so, one more time, you will have to get used to going to the bathroom quite often.

2. Your cervix dilates

To prepare for giving a birth, the cervix has to open and become thinner. These changes can be tracked by your doctor who can measures and track your dilation (opening) and effacement (thickening) during an internal exam.

3. Pain Conditions

Signs of Labor Approaching[/caption] While the muscles and joints are stretching and shifting to prepare for birth, you might experience cramps and pain in the lower back as early signs of labor.

4. Your joints feel looser

The softening and loosing of your joints and ligaments prepares your body for giving a birth. That is why as one of the signs of labor approaching you may notice that all of your joints have become a bit looser in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Although this might cause you clumsiness and may make you feel unstable, there is nothing to worry about. By secreting higher levels of the hormone called "relaxin" your body prepares for labor.

5. Diarrhea

Because of the loosening of the rectum muscles, you might have diarrhea. Drink more water to avoid dehydration and be patient. This unpleasant condition is not dangerous for you or the baby.

6. Energy Level Changes

Your oversize belly and the additional weight you have to bear constantly might totally exhaust you. So, you might feel out of energy just like in the first trimester. If you have problems sleeping through the night because of pains, contractions and your hyperactive bladder, then take frequent rests through the day.

On the other side, some of the women feel really energetic days or weeks before labor, no matter the other labor beginning signs. They want to tidy up and make everything around them cozy and clean. If you are one of them, do not forget to have rest and save your energy for the coming moment when you will be going into labor.

7. Your Weight Stops Increasing

Signs of Going into Labor

Signs of Going into Labor[/caption] As one of the pre labor signs you will probably discover that your weight is no more increasing. You might have even found out that you have lost some. Do not worry, if you have, your baby is still gaining weight and it he or she is not affected by your weight changes. You might lose a few kilograms in these last weeks because of the decreasing levels of amniotic fluid, more activity if you feel uncommonly energetic and others.

8. Changes in Vaginal Discharge Color and Consistency

You will probably notice changes in your vaginal discharge before labor. It may increase and/or thicken. You should also expect the loss of your mucous plug, either in one large piece or in lots of little ones. The thickened discharge with a pinkish color is also known as "the bloody show" and is a possible sign for impending labor.

9. Intensive contractions

There are two types of pregnancy contractions. The Braxton Hicks contractions can last for weeks and even months before giving birth. During them the muscles in your uterus tighten in preparation for delivery. But this is just an exercise for your body and this not one of the symptoms that you will give birth soon, unlike the real contractions.

10. When your water breaks

Actually, this is one of the last pre labor signs if it appears at all. So, pay attention to the other common signs of being in labor. When you notice some of the sure signs – repeating contractions, bloody show and others, then consult with your doctor and get ready for the moment that you have waited for so long.

How Do You Know Whether These Are Prelabor Contractions?

This is how you could distinguish the real ones:

  1. Real contractions become more frequent and more painful through the hours and they sometimes follow a specific time pattern, so you will know when to expect them next time. Timing your contractions will help you determine whether they show imminent labor. In the beginning, they may be as far apart as every 10 minutes. You will not be able to stop them no matter what you do and what positions you take. Then, in time, they will become more painful and will appear in a shorter period.
  2. Real contractions get stronger when labor is close.
  3. You cannot get rid of them If you change your body position.
  4. The pain starts in the lower back and moves to the lower abdomen. It might possibly affect the legs.
  5. Many women feel pain in the back at the beginning, which is moving toward the front. In the case of false labor, such pain is usually felt near the front only.

What Are the True Signs of Labor?

  • contractions;
  • pains;
  • vaginal discharge and others are all delivery signs.

Be sure to consult your doctor whenever you notice the first signs of labor start. Do not wait the moment when your water breaks. There many signs of early labor like the descending of the baby which will show you that this incredible moment is coming soon.

When Is the Moment to Go to the Hospital

Even if you notice some very early signs like the Braxton-Hicks contractions, always consult your doctor if something bothers you. These are the delivery signs that mean you should go to the hospital immediately:

  1. When your water breaks or you have contractions which appear before Week 37. This might mean that you could be going into preterm labor. Other symptoms include vaginal bleeding or spotting, unusual vaginal discharge, pressure in the pelvic area, low back pain and abdominal pain.
  2. If you suspect that you're leaking amniotic fluid or if your water breaks and it is yellow, brown, bloody or greenish.
  3. You suffer from vaginal bleeding, constant and severe abdominal pain or when you have a fever.
  4. If you suffer from severe or persistent headaches, vision changes, intense pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen or abnormal swelling. All of these could be symptoms of a dangerous condition, called preeclampsia.

Whenever you notice the signs that your labor is starting, contact your doctor. In these moments you will need the support and supervision of an experienced specialist. This will help you deliver a healthy baby and avoid potential problems.

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