Those end stages of the pregnancy are strange, the time all would-be mothers look forward to and dread terribly at the same time for months. Pregnancy as a whole brings lots of questions and a fear of not knowing the answers to all. And labor is an entirely different ball game. How long will I be in labor? Will it hurt a lot? These are the questions typically asked. But most importantly – What are the signs that tell me it's time?
Going into labor and its whole process varies considerably from a woman to woman. So it's evident that the indications of the start of labor are different for every woman. Not every sign happens to everyone. But there are some definite signs of labor. These signs are so definitive, that if they occur to you, you should be sure that you're going into labor.
THE BABY DROPS
A few weeks before labor, or a few hours before (if you're a second-time mom) you may feel that the baby is changing its position. This is because, in order for the delivery to happen, the baby shifts so that it is facing down below. It is also popularly called as the Lightning as the baby drops into a lower position in the pelvis. Due to this, you might feel more pressure on your uterus and even more bathroom breaks than before. But one upside to this is that due to this change in position, the pressure on your diaphragm relents, and you can breathe easier than before.
STRONGER, MORE PAINFUL CONTRACTIONS
A pregnant woman experiences contractions throughout her pregnancy. These contractions are actually just a way of the uterus trying to prepare itself for the big task it has in the end – to push the baby out. However, beware; sometimes you can also experience false contractions. These are called as Braxton-Hicks contractions. These can be felt like a pinch in the muscles and are just a part of the uterus' preparation, the real contractions are more painful and start at the back before creeping up to the front and sometimes even legs. The real ones are more regular; ranging from five minutes apart. The main difference between actual and false contractions is that the fake ones generally go away or are reduced if you change your position or lie down or stand up. The real ones get stronger when you are more active and are more painful in the abdomen area too. They progress continually and fall into some kind of a pattern. That's how you know they are real.
YOUR WATER BREAKS
You may have heard people saying water breaking is the main sign of pregnancy that happens to every woman. Well, that's not very true. Very few women experience this.
The amniotic sac actually surrounds the baby, and at the time of labor, the sac ruptures sometimes, and the fluid trickles out. If this happens, then you must call your doctor immediately and explain the color and smell. If it is indeed amniotic fluid breaking, then the baby is at risk to infection so you must rush to the hospital for delivery.
For the baby to come out in the world and be delivered, all the muscles in the body relax to prepare for the big event. But this also means that the rectum muscles also relax, and bowel movements occur. Also, nausea is pretty common all throughout the pregnancy. But sudden nausea and vomiting can also mean that you are starting to go into labor.
BLOODY DISCHARGE FROM VAGINA
You may notice a bright-red discharge out of your vagina. This could be the line of mucous that is shredded in order for your body to get prepared. If you notice faint streaks of blood or a bright red discharge, then be assured that it is time to call your doctor.
However, it should be kept I mind that this shredding involves only a little blood and if you experience heavy bleeding at any time during your pregnancy, be it the early stages or the late ones, a thick blood discharge could be dangerous. This is because heavy bleeding can lead to various complications in your pregnancy and extreme cases can also indicate that your baby's health may be in danger. So be sure to consult a doctor immediately.
Apart from these signs, if you still worry about knowing the approaching labor, it is better to have frequent visits to the doctor. The doctors are the best persons to help you while unusual situations.