Signs of labor
While there’s really no way to predict when you will go into labor, it’s important to know what signs you can expect from your body when the onset of labor is being triggered.
You feel your baby drop
If you have a sense of “lightening” and can finally start to breathe well again, this is a good indication that your baby has dropped. This means that you can expect the “Labor Day” to be within a few weeks, or even a few days.
Your mucus plug passes
While you have been pregnant a thick membrane of mucus has been protecting your baby from harmful bacteria entering the uterus. When this passes in what is often called a “bloody show,” there is a good chance that labor is only hours or possibly days away.
You feel more contractions
If you have been having contractions, it is usually an early sign that labor is just around the corner. If the frequency and strength of your contractions increases, the big moment could be only hours away. The best way to tell if you are experiencing real, and not false, labor contractions, is to note how often the contractions occur and if they are more painful. There is a good chance that they are real if your contractions are progressing into a more frequent and regular pattern.
Your cervix dilates
As your cervix prepares for birth, it will begin to open and efface. Know that everyone dilates at their own pace, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if you’re dilating slowly.
Your joints feel loose
Prior to the onset of labor, you will notice your joints start to feel more loose and relaxed. This is due to a hormone called relaxin that is softening your ligaments so that your pelvis will be open and ready for birth.
Your water breaks
Despite the fact that “water breaking” is always the first sure sign of labor in movies, in reality it is usually the last sign before labor. You should also know that it only occurs in about 1 of 10 women. If your water has broken, but you aren’t having contractions, you may need to be induced in order to prevent the baby from acquiring an infection.