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Is it time?

How to tell if you’re going into labor

Whether it’s your first pregnancy or not, labor can be a very challenging experience. Knowing what to expect can help to alleviate some of the anxiety that’s normally associated with the third trimester of pregnancy.

Everyone’s body is different which means every woman will have a different story to tell about their labor experience and what to expect. However, there are a number of tale tell signs that are often associated with labor.


How will you know you’re in early labor?

*The baby gets into position.

Depending on whether you’re a first-time mom or have given birth before, the baby will start to move towards the pelvis about two to four weeks before labor. The baby’s movements will be even more frequent than before as he/she gets ready to exit. This could mean more bathroom visits for you since the baby will be putting more pressure on the bladder.

* The cervix dilates.

As part of the body’s preparation for birth, the cervix will start to dilate and thin out. Your provider will check on the progress to measure the dilation to make sure that everything’s going well.

*Painful lower back pain

Most women experience lower back pain or abdominal pain closely resembling pre-menstrual cramps due to the stretching and shifting that’s happening in the muscles and joints.

*Loose feeling around the joints.

The hormone relaxin that’s produced during pregnancy causes ligaments to loosen up a bit. As you get closer to labor, you may notice that your joints may feel a lot less tight. This is a sign that the body is getting ready for birth.


Your joints may not be the only part of your body that’s relaxed. The muscles in your body which includes the rectum will become a lot more relaxed hence causing you to diarrhea. Just remember to stay hydrated and positive because it’s a positive sign.


Carrying around the large belly and having a baby pressing down on your bladder can have you feeling extra tired and make it tough to have a peaceful sleep. Don’t feel guilty about taking long naps because you’re going to need the rest.

*A show of the mucous plug and vaginal discharge.

The mucous plug that’s a barrier sealing off your uterus from the external environment may come out in one big chunk or in many small ones. Some women lose theirs during delivery so don’t panic if you don’t spot yours early on. You may also notice some brownish discharge that closely resembles blood.

labor*Stronger and more frequent contractions.

You may experience painful contractions that may vary in strength and frequency which tend to come and go. This is caused by the uterine muscles tightening up in preparation for birth.  *Water breaks.   The amniotic fluid may gush or slowly pass out. This can happen way before the onset of labor. However, make sure you let your midwife know when it does..

*Emotional imbalance

Most women’s emotions takes a roller coaster ride around the third trimester  that causes them to be moody, excited, restless, anxious or impatient.

Even though the above are signs that things are moving in the right direction and labor is about to start soon, it can be difficult to confuse the two phases because they can overlap.

Signs that you’re definitely in labor may include:

  1. If the contractions get stronger instead of becoming a bit mild.
  2. If the contractions become more frequent or don’t go away.
  3. Progress of the contractions. If the contractions get more painful and regular, then you’re definitely in labor. Each contraction won’t necessarily be more painful or last longer that the last one but the intensity will increase as labor progresses. When you start having contractions every five minutes, make sure to call your midwife or birth center.
  4. Early real labor. Contractions could closely resemble painful menstrual cramps or lower abdominal pressure. The pain could even spread down to the legs.

Get Ready To Welcome Baby!

Hopefully these signs will give you a sense of preparedness during the third trimester and most especially during labor. If you’re still confused about whether you’re going into labor or not, you can always call your birth center for some advice about what exactly is going on or what to do.

Until Next Time,

Amanda Maxwell

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