By show of hands how many of you have only one child? Two? How about 4 or more?? Ok Ok, what if this is your first child? First off, so excited for you because this a huge step in life that is so extra special.
Even moreso than buying your first house or car. You are having a baby. YAY!!
- Baby shower happening, CHECK
- Bought tons of diapers, CHECK.
- Baby crib up, CHECK
- Room set up, Check and Check
Ok, you’re ready! Now what? You’re probably thinking to yourself “Ok, how will I know when it is time to go to the hospital?” What do I do when it is time?” What are the signs of impending labor?
Table of contents
- Pregnancy Stages
- Impending Signs Of Labor
- Common Questions About Labor
- The Last thing your Should Know about Labor
Pregnancy, the one word that will change your life forever. Whether it was planned or not, that is another thing. Most women have a perception of pregnancy being so easy. You’ll just fly through all 9 months, no problem. I wish I was that person.
There are some women that actually do have fabulous pregnancies. Carry to full term and never have any problems. Kudos to them! Such a blessing to be able to go through pregnancy without any issues. These are the women that I love taking care of in the hospital!
You know not every pregnancy will be the same. Each woman has her own story of her pregnancy and birth. Very different from the next lady. Your story is your own. Both of my pregnancies were like night and day. One was pre term and a long and grueling labor. The other was induced and a short quick labor.
See you can do this!!
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First Trimester Symptoms
The first three months of your pregnancy you will spend sick. Nauseated, vomiting, one or the other, or both. If you don’t have these symptoms than that is great and you may be having a boy!
On top of this your body is changing. Your boobs are noticeably larger (um YES!) Your hair is super hair now and your skin is glowing! Well dang, if it wasn’t for me not trying to clean puke off my face in the mirror I don’t think I would have noticed. (It does happen).
Second Trimester Symptoms
Then comes the smooth sailing months 4-6. YES!! You get a break. Kicks here and there, fun ultrasounds. The fun part. But then you have heartburn. That dreaded pregnancy symptom that just won’t go away no matter what you do or what you eat.
Oh, and you can’t have pepcid because Doc says no, so you are stuck with Tums. Which does nothing by the way. Calms the fire right after you swallow and then here it comes again!
You know what they say when you have heartburn right? Your baby is gonna have a lot of hair! Truth!! I had heartburn with both my kids and they had tons of hair.
Third Trimester Symptoms
Between 7-9 months. Things start getting weird. Weird pregnancy symptoms are hard to notice if you haven’t been pregnant before. Around the 7th month, your belly is big you can’t see your feet anymore. You’re eating constantly, and you can’t sleep or breathe cause you aren’t comfortable.
This seemingly drags into the 8th month. During the 8th month, you are probably nesting. What is nesting? Well like a bird they make nests for their babies. You will be making your home ready for your baby. Cleaning everything, and being extremely picky about what you want for dinner. Because well, only watermelon and pickles sound good right now.
Than come the contractions.
The Difference Between False and Real Labor
There is a difference between labor and false labor and I didn’t quite know the difference with my first child. I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared for pregnancy. At least I wasn’t.
I actually went into the hospital because my contractions were so close together. And I thought that she was coming out like right then! Thank god she didn’t cause my husband would have missed her being born. And she would have been born at 32 weeks. Not good.
I was however, thoroughly educated by Nurse knows a lot (because I didn’t know anything at that point) that I was not in labor. They gave me a shot to stop the contractions. I think I probably kicked someone because my heart felt like it was going to come out of my chest.
There I was doing things that normal people do, not pregnant people. I continued on with my life and did things like laying out in the sun all day, boating and at one point I was even exercising.
Not that you can’t or shouldn’t exercise because a lot of women do but, some bodies aren’t built for exercising with a baby in them. I am one of them. And I persisted because I was uncomfortable and ready for that baby to come out!
Trust me you will know when the real labor starts. It is a pain like you have never felt before. Consider the below for further information.
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Impending Signs Of Labor
#1- Losing your Mucous Plug Days to Weeks Before Labor
About two weeks before I had gone into the hospital there was a large mucousy gross something on my toilet paper after I wiped. I kind of freaked out. And why this is the 1st of the 7 signs of impending labor.
It has a name actually and it is called the mucous plug. It is actually a telltale sign that labor will be happening soon. Your cervix is softening and opening up for baby. Had I known this I would have probably been more prepared.
The mucous plug (also called Bloody show) is a collection of mucous that protects the cervix. And seals the cervical canal. Read more on that here.
Giving birth soon after, varies from person to person. For me it was two weeks after. Others may be sooner with your first child.
#2- The Baby Drops a Few Weeks Prior to Labor
Have you ever had someone tell you that your baby sits high? Well, it means that the baby hasn’t dropped yet. Babys that haven’t dropped into the birth canal yet often sit high. Rather, up in your ribs, where you can’t breathe.
When the baby drops you won’t necessarily know. This will happen a few weeks before labor. Some have actually called it somewhat of a “lightening” feeling. It can be determined by your doc if the baby has dropped or not. Which you should be seeing weekly by this point. #3- Back Pain/Cramps
It has been known that many women experience back pain prior to and during labor. This is normal. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you or the baby. It just means that your baby may be in the wrong position.
This means that the baby is usually facing toward your stomach instead of facing backwards toward your back. The baby’s head pushes on the tailbone and the spine causing back pain. When faced the right direction which is head down facing your spine it is less pressure on your spine.
In fact, many women experience back labor and have unmedicated births. Just some food for thought.
#4- Strong Regular Contractions
By far the most obvious sign of labor. Contractions. Contractions at this stage will be very strong. To the point that you will definitely notice them. These are real contractions. Real contractions can be timed. And should be timed.
You can use an app that you download on your phone or simply a stop watch. These should be counted from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the other. There should be breaks in the beginning and if you experience 6 or more contractions in an hour. Call your doctor or go to the hospital.
Again, these contractions are very distinct and different from Braxton Hicks contractions. This is the ominous sign the labor is close. Contractions come later and that is why it is number 4 on the list of impending labor signs.
#5- Diarrhea a few Days Before Labor
Yep, I said it. Diarrhea or loose stools. This is a very common sign of labor and generally means that you’ll be having that baby very soon. But why diarrhea before labor?
This is the body’s way of riding the body of excess waste to allow the uterus to contract effectively. If you notice loose stools after you have your mucous plug come out, impending labor is near.
#6- Water Breaking Prior to Labor
Did you know that only 8 to 10% of women experience this sign? Water breaking. I myself did not experience this with my first child or second child. The doctor had to break my water for me.
Funny thing is, it goes back to the saying that some women have perfect pregnancies. If you notice a large gush or trickle of water you will need to contact your doctor right away. You will have to deliver your baby within the next 24 hours.
#7- New or Odd Symptoms of Labor
Most people don’t touch on the fact that many women experience so many different births. From not knowing they were pregnant to giving birth at 28 weeks. It does happen and listening to your body is always the best sign of impending labor.
We all know when something is off with our bodies. If you feel like there is something wrong. You are not getting as many kicks, you have a weird bloody substance on your underwear, call your doctor.
Be aware of sudden changes that are not normal for your body or your baby. Some weird pregnancy symptoms that might happen can include:
- Leaking of amniotic fluid- saturating pads
- have not felt kicks in over 8 hours
- Your pet starts following you around
- You get flu like symptoms
- Burst in energy levels-nesting
Common Questions About Labor
- What does labor pain feel like- For each person labor is different. You may feel contractions early on (Braxton Hicks). While someone else may have back labor. Each situation is different so it is hard predict the outcome.
- Can I speed up labor- Short answer, No. Labor is just that labor. Google the word labor in the dictionary. You are bringing a life into the world it won’t be a fast process.
- Can I induce my own labor- I thought of this with my first. Simply because I was excited and wanted to not be pregnant anymore because I was miserable. I was given several options but opted to just go into labor naturally because they sounded awful. I ended up having her early anyhow. Just be patient. They come when they are ready.
- Is it ok to Exercise when I am 9 months pregnant- as always, refer to your doctor for guidance on that. Many women can exercise throughout their pregnancy while others can not. Check with your MD.
The Last thing your Should Know about Labor
No woman is the same. Anatomy is different, timing is different, we are all built differently. To say that one person will experience the exact same labor and delivery is not true.
Advice to you is this . Trust your gut, when you feel that something is not right, call your doctor. Take heed and study up on what you should be expecting. There are plenty of great articles here and other places as well.
Lastly. Expect the best. You are having a baby. It is the best time for you right now to love another human being that you made. Good for you! You are blessed.