The last weeks and days can really stretch, especially when you’re looking for any sign that something is beginning to happen.
Here is a list of some of the signs that may indicate labor is either about to start or will be starting in the next few days.
Disclaimer: Every woman is different and will experience different signs before going into labor.
This is a guide to some of the signs that may indicate labor is near – but it is no way a guarantee.
If you have any concerns or unsure if labor has begun, you should always contact your medical carer for advice.
You may also want to read about pregnancy bleeding and discharge.
15 Minutes That Can Change Your Newborn’s Life
Before reading on, I highly recommend reading this article on a simple procedure that can give your baby a better start to life (especially if they have complications or are preemie.)Read more here.
Some women have no signs at all before labor begins other than their first contraction.
OR MAYBE…the signals have been so slight or confused with other pregnancy symptoms that you haven’t noticed.
Due to increased hormone levels, some women may experience an outbreak of pimples in the last few days before labor begins.
OR MAYBE… you just ate too much chocolate.
Back pain is a quite common sign of impending labor. In fact sometimes back pain may in fact be contractions.
OR MAYBE… you’re just getting back pain from the extra weight and pressure of baby, or baby is in a posterior position.
Often blood pressure may go up in the last one or two days before labor begins.
OR MAYBE… it’s an indication of other problems that your doctor will need to check, such as preeclampsia.
When you wipe, you may notice a brown or red display of blood that means labor is close.
OR MAYBE… it’s just a sign that labor is a week or two away.
Although these fake contractions are common after 20 weeks gestation, they often become stronger or feel different shortly before labor begins, and occasionally may even be confused with real contractions.
OR MAYBE… you’re just experiencing more braxton hicks than usual.
It’s quite common to experience increased crankiness or moodiness in the days or hours before going into labor.
OR MAYBE… you’re just having a bad day.
This is a quite common sign that labor will be starting soon. The body begins to clean out in preparation for birth. It can last anywhere from a few hours up to a week.
OR MAYBE… you’ve just picked up a virus or eaten some slightly off food.
Dilation & Effacement
This will need to be checked by a doctor or health care worker, but as labor nears, the cervix both thins (effaces) and dilates (opens up).
OR MAYBE… you’re just one of those women who dilates weeks before labor begins (some women can dilate up to ten weeks before birth, while others can go from completely closed to 10cm in a couple of hours.)
Some women experience dizziness in the hours before labor begins.
OR MAYBE… you just need to stop doing so much and have a high protein snack.
As the baby moves into the birth canal, a woman may find breathing is easier and her chest feels more comfortable.
OR MAYBE… sitting down and taking a break may be helping your breathe easier.
It’s not uncommon to experience a burst of energy as the body prepares for labor.
OR MAYBE… that good night’s sleep you finally got and a few healthy meals has made you feel a bit better.
Foetal Movement Changes
Often your baby will become more active before labor begins, or in some cases, movement will slow down (if baby stops moving you need to call your hospital.)
OR MAYBE… baby is just having a burst of energy or a lazy day.
Many women experience a feeling of lightness in their upper body as baby moves down into the birth canal. This usually happens a week or more before labor in first time pregnancies and a day or so in later pregnancies.
OR MAYBE… baby is just having fun teasing you!
It’s not unusual to lose several pounds in the last few days before labor starts.
OR MAYBE… you need to weigh yourself at the same time of day, for instance before a meal.
Losing or Gaining Appetite
Often women will find they’re either ravenous or feel completely full before labor begins.
OR MAYBE… baby’s been squishing your stomach more than usual.
The plug of mucous that seals the cervix and helps protect baby from infection may come away in pieces or a single blood streaked glob.
OR MAYBE…you’ve lost it early due to activity or the baby and it will grow back (yes, a plug can grow back if lost too early.) Some women don’t lose their plugs until they begin labor while others lose them days or weeks before.
One of the most commonly talked about signs of impending labor, many women begin cleaning and re-arranging baby items in the days or hours before labor begins.
OR MAYBE… you’ve been putting it off for awhile and you’re doing it because you know you need to stop procrastinating!
Animals seem to be very aware of changes in their masters. It’s not unusual for dogs or cats to follow around pregnant women like a shadow in the hours before labor begins.
OR MAYBE… your pet is just feeling friendly.
It’s not unusual for women about to go into labor to have uncontrollable shakes and shivers, on and off.
OR MAYBE… you just have low blood sugar or need a blanket.
Before going into labor, many women say that experienced the best nights sleep they’ve had in weeks.
OR MAYBE... you’re finally getting used to the huge baby bump (is that possible?)
As labor nears, many women find they have an increase in runny noses due to the higher level of hormones in their body.
OR MAYBE… you’re starting to get a cold (and should go see the doctor!)
Although you’ve probably had swelling in at least your hands or feet in the third trimester, it’s not unsual to experience more swelling or even swelling in new places before labor begins – for instance in the lips.
OR MAYBE… you just need to put your feet up more and get your partner to give you some more massages!
Throwing Up or Nausea
It’s not unusual to throw up shortly before labor begins as your body tries to clean itself out in preparation for delivery.
OR MAYBE… you just ate too much for dinner or have a stomach bug.
This is a sign that many people talk about but is actually not that common – in fact only 10-15% of labors begin with the amniotic sac breaking.
OR MAYBE… your waters can break but if it’s a little break, it can actually heal. If you don’t start labor within 72-96 hours after a major break, usually you’ll be induced.
You may have got a laugh out of this article – or you may have gotten some ideas about what to expect. Either way, the signs before labor begins can be very different for every woman. Let’s hope that your signs are the ones you want!
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not to use it during pncangrey. I tried many things to get my baby to come and she wouldn’t. She was a day overdue. I am not sure if anything will actually work, but I do know some things you can try.Red raspberry tea. Drink 1 quart a dayBlue CohoshSquawvine also called partridgeberryDo not try castor oil. My sister tried this and all it did was give her bad diarrhea.Try walking and squatting, but don’t wear yourself out. You are going to need lots of energy for labor.Good luck!
I’ve tried drinking 1whole Qourt of cranberry juice cocktail but it did not work I’m in labor right now and I’m having a contraction right wish me luck I think it is active labor cuz it is very strong
I am in labor Right now wish me luck what’s the best thing to do walk around my home or what
I was 16, uneducated and impatient..at 33 weeks i drank 4 oz of mineral oil.14 hours later i was holding my daughter anna.7 lbs even and completely healthy
is mineral oil bad for the baby?
Saturday I will be fourty weeks pregnant. I am highly uncomfortable with a active siatic nerve on my lower back plus I suffer from scoliosis. I been dealing with sevear pelvic pain , it feels like my vagina and pelvic bones r broken. I been walking trying to bring on my labor nothing has been working. I get out of breath and sweat like crazy. My legs n feet swell after wards.I’m always so tired and drained, its hard to get stuff around the house done bending over and lifting things is unbearable. I have tightening in my mid stomach and lower stomach near my hips. There are also days I feel nauseous, I dont know wht to do anymore.
Fel, there is no way you delivered a 7lb baby at 33 weeks. Baby would have been less than 5 lbs. Castor oil does nothing but give you the worst explosive diarrhea
Actually she could have had undiagnosed gestational diabetes? I’m 34 weeks with baby number three and he is weighing in at 3420 grams currently. Roughly 7 pound 11/12
At 33 weeks the lungs would not have been mature and the baby would have needed a long time in the nicu. If she had untreated gestational diabetes the baby would have required even more care. It’s more likely that she was wrong on her dates and was closer to 37 weeks, esp since she admits she was uneducated.
I delivered my first son at 34 weeks and he weighed 5lb 13oz, so he was almost 6lbs! My other son was born at 36 weeks and weighed 5lb 14oz. Every baby is different. Neither of my boys needed oxygen or a nicu stay. They both came home with me after 2 days
im only 32 and baby in the womb is 5lbs he is long and big its possible and i weigh only 150 pounds it depends on the baby some baby’s are big
Actually there is no way they can tell the actual weight of the baby inside the womb. I was told my full pregnancy from the 5 month ultrasound on that my baby would weigh more than 8 lbs she ended up only weighing 6lbs 15 oz. and the other person is right there is no way she was 33weeks she was probably even more than 37 weeks for it to be 7lbs. she was young so I’m sure did not know the true conception date.
It can happen my daughter was born at 35 weeks and was 8lb 7pz I did have GD thou.
She actually could have had a 7lb baby at 33 weeks. At my 30 week appointment I was told my son was already 4 1/2lbs.
My baby was 6lb 13oz at 34w… So yes, its possible to have a 7 pounder. May have had gestational diabetes too
Yes as every baby is different my son was exactly 2montbs and 4 days early he weighted 7 pounds 14oz
It is possible. At 34 weeks my baby was already 7.4lbs.
She may have diabetes or just having a bigger than average baby.
It’s possible.. I had 5 children all over 10lbs. With my son I was induced @37-38 wks due to his weight… Came in at 10lbs8ozs & healthy. No diabetes.
I used Castro oil 6 hrs later I had my son
SEX – I was a week overdue with my first child, I had several people tell me that sex would help start labor. Ha – sex was the last thing in the world I was interested in being a week overdue. But my doctor did confirm that semen helps to soften things up getting the womb ready for labor. It worked, started contractions the less than 10 hours later.
I used castor oil when I was 39 weeks with my first son and it gave me horrible Braxton hicks and I was in the bathroom for hours. I also drunk Red raspberry tea at 38 weeks and 5 days and nothing happened. I ended up getting induced at 40 weeks with both of my boys. Now I am expecting my daughter we are just planning on being induce since I have never dilated past one on my own.
40 weeks is quite early to decide that you’re unable to dilate. A normal pregnancy can go up to 42 weeks. Many women don’t experience dilation, effacement or baby engaging until the beginning of spontaneous labor.
Susannah that is not true my pregnancy is healthy and normal Im 36 weeks and dialtrd to 1 cm
Jessica, you’ll notice I said many. It’s also possible to be 1-4cm dilated for weeks or months before labor.
A normal birth can go up to 42 weeks. I had it when i got my first son and successfully delivered normal.
Could a 33 week mother dilate
A woman can start to dilate at any time during pregnancy; women who’ve had previous pregnancies may be dilated for a good part of their pregnancy. Other women may not dilate till labor starts.
Dilation doesn’t necessarily mean labor will happen soon. It could start tomorrow, or months from now.
I was born at 28 weeks and went home the same day and weighed 6.75 pounds and perfectly healthy. I’m 37 weeks pregnant now and my baby boy weighs around 8.75 pounds according to last week’s ultrasound. I have almost all of the labor approaching signs tho.! I’m also dilating already!
I’m pregnant with my second child and due in 2 weeks I’m 2 cm dialated with my first one by this time I was 6 cm dialated and went up to 8 cm dialated before I went into labor I walked around for 2 months dialated so it’ all depends on the person n what ur body does every pregnancy is diff especially person
I’m 35w 3d with mono/di twins and woke up puffy-faced, feet extra puffy tonight, got a dizzy spell and have been puzzling over having a runny nose the past few days despite not feeling like I’m getting a cold/am sick. Will be interesting to see if these are indeed signs of impending labour! (Minor lower back pain at times, the past maybe couple weeks, but no obvious contractions.) Will post an update soon!