Are you ready for this pregnancy to be over and labor to start so you can finally meet your sweet baby?
I know I was, especially in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Not only was I carrying around a huge belly and the drastic amount of weight I gained, no, but my whole body was also hurting. I couldn’t walk, stand, sit, or lay anymore. All I wanted was that baby to come out and finally lose those extra pounds.
Funny fact, I tried a bunch of old midwife tales to induce my labor at home. That’s how desperate I was. If you would like to know what I tried and if it worked, check out my Post:
I never really knew how labor will approach. Of course, I heard about contractions and the water breaking. We learned all about that in our birthing class. But no one told me about all the other symptoms that could be an indicator that labor is near.
So when my excessive back pain started or that annoying nausea from the beginning of pregnancy came back, I didn’t know what was happening. Every time I thought something was wrong with me, so I would immediately text my midwife. Guess what, every time she would tell me it’s normal and a sign that labor is getting closer.
I’m In Love With A Human I Haven’t Met Yet.
Today, I would like to share all the labor symptoms I had the days before my labor started and I finally gave birth to my beautiful daughter.
Before I start, those can only be signs of your approaching labor. Once your „real“ labor starts and you’re having „real“ contractions, you WILL KNOW. For days I thought I would go into labor and check online if someone else felt the same way and went into labor because of it. Nope, once my labor started, I knew. There was no way for me to go online to check. All I could think about was getting into that car and driving to the hospital asap.
10 Signs That Your Labor Is Near
The last two weeks before my labor started, I frequently felt cramps and a strong discomfort around my pelvic area. As our babies prepare to arrive, our muscles start stretching and our joints start to loosen up. All that is due to our body releases a hormone called „relaxin“. That hormone is actually allowing your pelvic bones to expand for childbirth.
One morning, probably around a week before labor, I woke up and that horrible nausea feeling from my first trimester was back. Although I didn’t feel the urge to throw up, it stayed with me for a couple of hours. I went online and found out that some women throw up right before they go into labor. Sometimes even during labor, probably because of the strong pain that contractions are causing.
If that happens to you as well, make sure to drink plenty of liquids, preferably water. Labor is hard on its own, you don’t want to be dehydrated to make it even harder. Make sure to also check out my post about „How To Deal With Morning Sickness“, maybe some of the tips mentioned here can help you deal with that „early-labor-nausea“ as well.
Oh yes, be prepared for that one. Around a week before my labor started, my diarrhea came out of nowhere and stayed with me until my daughter was born. (Yep, even at the hospital. And yes, I did.)
Your muscles in your uterus are starting to relax, which means muscles like your rectum are as well… But, the good news is, once it’s all out, it’s out! So you won’t need to use the bathroom as often after you gave birth. Trust me, you will be thankful for that diarrhea and your empty bowel!
The urge to nest was probably my favorite part of pregnancy and one of my earliest labor symptoms.
Nesting for me started around 6 weeks before I gave birth, right when my maternity leave started. Let me tell you, our apartment never looked better. I cleaned every single part of it, every day for six whole weeks.
Even the morning before I gave birth, I cleaned every corner just to make sure that everything is perfect once our baby arrives.
Enjoy the process, but make sure to not overdo yourself! Sometimes my husband would have to grab the vacuum out of my hands and force me to sit down. Definitely a crazy time!
5. Back Pain
That low back pain was no fun, but a huge sign of labor approaching, at least in my case. It can happen a few weeks before your labor starts, but some women even report low back pain during their entire labor as well.
The back pain I experienced started less than two weeks before I went into labor. And it was so damn painful that we even drove to the hospital because I thought I’m about to give birth. Of course, it was only a false alarm and it took another few days until the real deal started.
Most of the time, around 2-3 weeks before you go into labor, you will notice that your belly is much lower than before. That means your baby has probably dropped into your pelvis. Good news: They are getting into the actual birthing position with their head down and low.
Once that happens, you can feel your baby’s head hitting your cervix every time they kick. You may also notice that you are waddling way more than before. In my case, I needed to go to the bathroom more frequently, which makes sense. Your baby is pretty much sitting on your bladder.
Since the baby is much lower now, you will probably notice that you can breathe better and have a little more space up there. Some babies only drop right before birth, when the contractions have already started. So don’t be discouraged if your baby is still positioned pretty high.
My least favorite part during pregnancy and before giving birth: Contractions. Oh man, thanks to that there is something like an epidural… Cheers to all the women who made it without one.
There are a few signs that your contractions are real:
- If you change your position, they won’t ease off or go away
- They follow a regular pattern
- They are getting stronger
- They are painful and come in waves
During Early Labor, you may be experiencing Braxton Hicks. They are irregular and pretty far apart. Some women start experiencing Braxton Hicks in very early stages during their pregnancy. Usually, they will start a few weeks before going into labor.
That’s how most women describe Braxton Hicks:
- The feeling of strong menstrual cramps
- Upset stomach
- Lower abdominal pain
- Low back pain
If you are asking yourself if the contractions you are having are real, they are probably not. Trust me and every other woman who told you before: Once the real contractions start, YOU WILL KNOW!
My Braxton Hicks started around a week before I went into labor. I would be up every night with strong camps in my stomach and the worst low back pain ever. Every time I was so sure: That’s the night I will go into labor.
I was reading every article about contractions and read all the forums I could find. Let me tell you, that’s a pretty good sign you’re having false contractions. Because Friday morning, when my first real contraction started, I knew right away and it didn’t even take me ten minutes to get dressed, grab all my things and leave the house.
In the last few weeks of your pregnancy, your uterus is getting prepared for birth. It will start to dilate and efface. Unfortunately, unless you are active in that field, you won’t be able to find out if you are already dilated by yourself at home. Starting a few weeks before your due date, your doctor or midwife will typically measure to see if you already made some progress.
Just don’t be upset if you haven’t dilated at all yet. I had my last doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, Aug 28th. I was not even dilated to a full centimeter by then. My doctor told me it will probably take a few more days. Keep in mind, my due date was August 31st. On Friday, August 30th, my contractions started and my little sunshine was born the same day. Only two hours before her actual due date.
9. Mucus Plug
The mucus plug pretty much seals your uterus off and protects it from any kind of bacteria. So once you start to dilate, the mucus plug starts coming out.
Mine actually came out in pieces over the last two weeks of my pregnancy. Once I was in real labor at the hospital, the rest of it showed up. It’s very different for every woman. Mine reminded me of the mucus that is in your nose, so it can totally go unnoticed since some women think it’s only discharged.
Losing your plug does not necessarily mean you will go into labor that day. But it will probably happen any time soon after that.
10. Water Breaks
First of all, forget about all those movies and shows where women rush to the hospital once their water breaks and the baby is pretty much falling out on the way. That probably won’t happen to you! Most of the women get contractions first and the water breaks when they are already at the hospital.
That’s what happened in my case. I was already around 7 cm dilated when my water broke and the midwife at the hospital only changed my sheet, helped me get out of my wet pants, and left for another two hours before checking at me again.
But, once your water broke, you should not wait too long to head to the hospital or call your midwife. Babies should be born 24 hours after it happens to avoid any kind of infection.
Good Luck Mamas! 🙂
If you would like to know more about Labor & Delivery, check out these Post: