You labor is drawing closer at this point and you are probably getting anxious about what to expect and what signs you need to look for that labor has started. Waiting for labor to start can be hard especially when you are tired of being pregnant at this point and probably want a glass of wine by now.
Your almost there mama it won’t be long so hold tight and read what to expect and how to know your labor has started so you can be better prepared for the big day!
I have had two children and both labors where completely different, one was born at 36 weeks and the other at 40 so you never know when it could happen. I didn’t know the signs of labor with my first so when I went into labor early I had no idea!
If my mom hadn’t told me to go to the hospital I probably would have waited to long at home and both my child and I would have died. It was scary, she was breech and no doctors could tell (no clue why they couldn’t) and the cord was around her neck chocking her with every contraction. I didn’t get any pain meds until my emergency c section nine hours later!! Yup I had a preemie who was 4.5 LB but perfectly healthy and able to go home (praise God)!
Horrible experience for me at the age of 22! Our little boy ten years later was so much better, I knew what was suppose to happen and how it felt (never forget the pain) and also what signs to look for. I was unable to have the VBAC that I wanted due to his heart rate dropping with every contraction but he was healthy and well and that is all that matters.
This is the reason why I want you to know all the signs that labor has started so you aren’t caught off guard and have no idea what to do. I don’t want you to have a bad experience like I did the first time.
Signs That Labor Has Started
Here are the signs of labor when it actually starts and what it feels like or could feel like so you know what to expect. Not everyone experiences the same thing and it does depend on which way your baby is facing as to how it will feel during your labor.
1. Cervix is Dilating– This could happen a few weeks leading up to labor and for some women it happens around 40 weeks pregnant but is a good sign of labour coming soon.
2. Lose the Mucus Plug– This could happen a few days or the day of labor starting, it’s a sign that labor is approaching and your body is preparing for it to happen any time now.
- It’s a mucus type of discharge with some brownish or bloody show in it kind of looks like snot (sorry but it does). Don’t freak out if you see this it’s totally normal and is suppose to happen, when it happened to me the first time I went into preterm labor a few hours later.
3. Braxton Hicks– When your contractions start to get closer and closer together you are about to go into labor. If they are four minutes apart, lasting for one minute and keep going for an hour and also getting stronger and more frequent then your are most definitely in labor and should start getting ready to go.
- You don’t have to rush because labor does take a while but you should get your bags loaded, eat something and make sure you call the people you need to.
- If your in doubt then call your doctor just to be safe.
4. Rhythmic Back Pain– This is what happened to me and it is harder to know what is happening, it feels different then normal contractions but there still is a rhythm to them a bit like waves. Not many women will experience this so you may not have this happen to you but if you do then your in back labor which is more painful I think then normal labor (I’m sorry if you have this).
- This has to do with how your baby is positioned in your Uterus and they can push on your spine causing back pain and labor.
5. Your Water Breaks– Your water breaking isn’t like a sudden rush of fluid but more like a trickle or a feeling like your peeing yourself. I think that is the only way to describe it and it can stain things so make sure to grab a maxi pad to wear on your way to the hospital (it will hold the fluid until you get there, this is a trick I used this last time and saved our car seats and my clothes). Honestly I think this is the worst part of giving birth is being wet from the amniotic fluid!
Once everything starts you will know your in labor for sure so don’t worry that you are going to miss it and give birth at home. You will defiantly know because a lot of the time it feels like a really bad stomach ache or super strong period cramps that don’t stop. It’s very uncomfortable but you were made to do this and women have been having babies for thousands of years so you got this momma!
Try to stay calm and get yourself ready to go to the hospital, have your hospital bag packed and ready and don’t forget to eat a little something because it’s going to be a while and you won’t be able to eat. You can have some snacks and drinks but it’s a long process most of the time so this will be your last meal for a little while.
If this is the first baby you are having your labor will most likely take a while but if it’s the second or third you may want to hurry up a bit because Labor can be a lot faster this time. With your first you can take some time like my husband and I did and we waited for contractions to get stronger before we went to the hospital. We actually dropped off some movies and made a few stops on the way so we didn’t have to wait as long at the hospital.
Whatever happens stay calm, just breathe through your contractions and try to distract yourself with music and happy thoughts. Walk around a little bit and try to stay upright, laying down sometimes slows down labor so avoid this if you can.
I know that going into labor is a scary thing but also a big blessing, your long pregnancy is finally coming to an end and you get to meet your beautiful baby. Try to make the best of it and remind yourself that it won’t last forever and honestly all of the pain goes away when you are holding your baby, non of it matters after this point.
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