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Am I in Labor?

The Early Signs of Labor to Look For

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pregnant woman in pain while husband is talking on cell phone

If you're having your first baby, every pain and twinge can have you wondering if you're seeing the early signs of labor. If you don't know what are the signs of labor, here are some of the things you should look for.

What Are the Signs of Labor?

In the week leading up to labor, you may notice a lot of changes going on with your body. Some of these changes can include:

  • Being over-emotional. Crying for no reason can be one of the early signs of labor because your hormones are running through your body preparing it for birth.

  • An increase in Braxton Hicks contractions.

  • An increase in vaginal discharge.

  • Losing your mucus plug, also known as the show.

  • Mild diarrhea. This helps clear out your digestive system to make labor and birth easier.

  • An intense need to organize and clean around your home. This is known as nesting.

  • A feeling that you need to stay close to home.

Symptoms of Labor

If you're experiencing these symptoms of labor, your labor has started.

  • Your water breaking. This can either be in a large gush or a continuous trickle.

  • Lower back pain.

  • The show, if you didn't lose it earlier.

  • Regular, consistent contractions. These can feel like menstrual cramps or a simple tightening throughout your belly.

For many women, labor starts when their water breaks. The water is actually amniotic fluid and it's what the baby has been floating in during your pregnancy. The water breaking can come in a gush or in a trickle and if you think your water has broken, go to the hospital to get checked out. Try to take notice what color the fluid is and how much there is. If you notice green or black pieces in the fluid, this is a sign that your baby may be in distress.

If you're not sure if your water has broken, put a maxi pad on and check it after an hour. If the fluid is amniotic fluid, the pad should be wet with an odorless liquid. If the fluid is urine (It happens -- don't be embarrassed if it happens to you!), it will smell a little. If you don't know the difference, get checked out by your midwife or OB.

To learn more about what are the signs of labor, click here.

 
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