How Do You Know If You Are In Labor? Mommy Insight Q & A


Todays Question:
How do you know if you are labor?  I am so afraid I won’t know when the time comes.
Abby, NY

There are many Signs & Symptoms that things are progressing, labor is on it’s way, and that you are in fact in TRUE LABOR.

SIGNS that your body is changing and more than likely preparing for the onset of labor are:

More frequent soft bowel movements
Menstrual like cramps and back discomfort
More frequent braxton hicks contractions
Lightening – You feel like you can finally breathe again.  Why?  The baby has dropped down settling more into your pelvis in preparation for labor.
Nesting – some when say they get a surge of energy to clean and make sure everything is ready for the baby to come

Signs you should BE READY because early labor has begun or is shortly on it’s way: (This stage can progress throughout a few days or only take a short time) 

Loss of Mucous Plug /bloody show – a thick amount of mucus that works as a barrier to protect your cervical opening from bacteria entering the uterus. As your cervix starts to thin, this plug can be released. It is looks like thick clear to cloudy mucus or discharge with a ting of blood. It can appear minutes, hours or even days before labor begins. Don’t be nervous if you don’t notice it, not all women do.  

Effacement – You cervix with begin to stretch and thin in preparation for delivery. This is not something you with know or feel on your own.  Usually during the last month of pregnancy your doctor with do internal exams to check if you have made any changes. Effacement is measured in percentages, such as 25%, 50%, and 100%.   Some women can have changes weeks before they actually go into labor.  Other women with have no change and then have the baby the next day.  Every person is different. 

Dialation –  This is the when your Cervix is beginning to open.  (Remember you have to get to 10 centimeters in order to delivery your baby.)  Just as with effacement you will not know you are dilating.  Your doctor will know through an internal exam. If you are dialating days or even weeks before you due date that’s great.  It shows you body is preparing for labor.  But this is not neccessary nor do all women dialate pior to going into labor.  Many women have no changes up until the day they actually go into labor.

More but Infrequent Contractions –  Different from braxton hicks which are painless.  The contractions will be more noticeable, may stop you in your tracks, but not be unbearable. They may even be frequent for a period of time but then disappear. Sometimes they can be mistaken for “True Active Labor.”  You may have heard many people call it “false Labor.”  It can be frustating but they do usually mean things are moving along and changing.

Ready of not, IT’S GAME TIME! 
Signs you are in Labor:

Rupture of Membranes ( your water breaks) – only 1 in 10 women actually experience this.  some women actually feel a gush of water or may actually feel a little trickle of water.  It is a sign that labor has begun but doesn’t necessarily mean you will deliver your baby in a few hours.  You do need to contact your dr right away.  This is something they need to now.  They might not tell you to go to the hospital immediately but some do.
 *Make sure to note what the water looks like.*
– The fluid should be clear.  If it is green or brownish it could be meconium, means your baby has pooped in utero.  Don’t get too nervous.  It just means the dr needs to take precautions and your baby has to be carefully suctioned right away after delivery. 
– If you have a fever, it could mean there is some type of infection.
– It is important to not place anything inside the vagina after your water has broken, so avoid: intercourse, baths, and vaginal exams.
 – To prevent infection, most doctors like women to deliver their babies within 24 hours after their water breaks.

Regular, Consistent Contractions – These contractions are different from braxton hicks and false labor contractions. They may only start with tightening of your stomach and feel like mild menstrual cramps.  They gradually tighten, hit a peak, and then ease off.  They can start and be 30 minutes or so apart and gradually get closer. Evenually they will get to be 10 minutes, 5 mimutes and even 1-2 minutes apart.   Be aware though some women with have nothing and then instantly get them 2 -5 minutes aprt regularly.  Check with your doctor.

Depending on your dr, he/she may want you to call as soon as they are consistently 10 minutes apart for an hour or two.  Others would  rather have you wait until they are 5 minutes part.

True labor contractions:
– get closer together
– get increasing stronger and more painful
– progressively last longer
– tend to be felt from your back all the way around to your stomach or vise versa

– change in activity or drinking fluids won’t change there consistency

There you have it.  All the Signs and Symptoms that may be present as your body is preparing for labor and/or when you are in fact truly in labor.

GOOD LUCK!!!

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1 Response to How Do You Know If You Are In Labor? Mommy Insight Q & A

  1. Great post! I never went into labor with my son. I had to have a c-section at 36 weeks. But I love how you wrote out the step by step.Stopping in from SITS!

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