Not knowing when you are really in labor is fairly common. Woman having their 3rd and 4th child doesn’t always know when she’s genuinely in labor. You may experience some early symptoms of labor before labor begins. Some women experience these symptoms for days or weeks before actually going into labor. These symptoms are letting you know that labor may occur soon. If you think you maybe in labor, contact your practitioner before going to the hospital.
Noticing changes before labor begins
As you get closer to the big day, you may recognize some changes as your body prepares for the event. These changes begins weeks or even days before labor starts. During this time you may notice all or you may not notice any of them:
- Bloody Show: As changes in your cervix takes place, you may expel some mucous discharge mixed with blood. The blood comes from broken capillaries in your cervix.
- Diarrhea: A few days before labor, sometime your body releases prostaglandins, which are substances that help the uterus contract and may cause diarrhea
- Dropping and engagement: The fetus often drops into the pelvis server weeks before labor, more common in women who are giving birth for the first time. During this time you may feel increased pressure on your vagina and sharp radiating pains to your vagina. Also during this time you may notice that your whole uterus is lower in your belly and you’re more comfortable and can breathe more easily
- Increase in Braxton-Hicks contractions: Some women experience strong Braxton-Hicks contractions weeks before going into labor. There maybe an increase in the frequency and strength of them. They may become uncomfortable, even if they don’t grow any stronger or more frequent.
- Mucous discharge: During pregnancy, your cervix is protected by a mucous plug to protect your uterus from infection. As your cervix starts to thin out and dilate to prepare for delivery, you may secrete this thick mucous. This doesn’t mean you’re prone to infection, don’t worry.
Figuring out true labor and false labor isn’t always easy. There are a few general characteristics that can help you determine whether the symptoms you’re experiencing mean you’re in labor.Discerning False Labor from True Labor
In general, you’re in false labor if your contractions:
- Are irregular and don’t increase in frequency
- Disappear for any reason but especially when you change position, walk, or rest
- Are not particularly uncomfortable
- Occur only in your lower abdomen
- Don’t become increasingly uncomfortable
Your likely to be in labor if your contractions:
- Grow steadily more frequent, intense, and uncomfortable
- Last approximately 40-60 seconds
- Don’t go away when you change positions, walk, or rest
- Occur along with leakage of fluid (due to rupture of the membranes)
- Make normal talking difficult or impossible
- Stretch across your upper abdomen or are located in your back, radiating to your front
Sometime the only way you can know for certain you’re in labor is to see your practitioner or by going to the hospital. Once there, they will perform a pelvic exam to determine whether you’re in labor.
Tell us , if you’re a first time mother, what has your first pregnancy has been like. If you are already a mother, please share you’re experiences with your pregnancy and any suggestions you may have for new mothers.