How to Know if You’re In Labor : Signs and Symptoms

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You’ve reached the last month of pregnancy and are waiting to meet your little one. But how will you know it’s time? Here are some Signs and Symptoms to look for  and  How to Know if You’re In Labor and hopefully make the big event easier to recognize. 

Know if You're In Labor

Are you In Labor? Signs and Symptoms

Most moms to be will sit and worry and wonder what the signs and symptoms of labor will be like. Will they know when it is the real deal, how long it will take, are all common thoughts. It is hard to know when your baby will decide they are ready to come out and meet you.

With my first three kids I ended up getting induced and had never really experienced going into labor. So when my 4th little guy came around and I was having contractions I didn’t know I was really in labor,that is until my water broke and he was born an hour later. Although Labor is different for everyone here are some signs and symptoms the real show is about to begin.

Doctors will tell their expectant patients that you will know when it is the real deal. You will have your water break, the contractions will be so painful you can’t talk through them, and so on. But what about early signs of labor?! That is what you will read below, early signs that can indicate labor is coming or has already arrived and you are in the early stages!

You Should Always Call the Doctor:

  • If you experience any of these symptoms below, it is good to call your doctor right away!
  • Bleeding that is bright red
  • Increased Headaches or Vision Changes – could be hypertension or preclampsia
  • Less Movement from your baby (You want around 10 movements an hour)
  • Water breaks


How to Know if You Are in Labor or Close

More Cramps and Back Pain: You will begin to feel more cramps and pain in your lower back and groin. Sometimes those cramps could be minor contractions that are preparing you for labor. Now this can go on for days or even weeks. So it isn’t something you need to run in to your doctor for. Now if the pain is extremely hurtful, then you better call your doctor to be safe, but mild cramps and pain you are okay. The big thing is to notice if there’s a consistency or if they’re becoming more frequent. I’ve downloaded an app for my last two little ones to help time the contractions and it’s been extremely helpful. Some will even tell you when it’s time to head to the hospital so researching some good contraction apps before the the last month might be a good idea.

Diarrhea: A lot of women have said they experience a lot of diarrhea right before birth. It is your muscles in your uterus relaxing and preparing for birth. Make sure to stay hydrated if you are using the restroom more than normal. It’s important to stay hydrated during all of pregnancy so if you see your body is cleansing itself make sure and drink fluid to keep you and the baby safe.

Pelvic Pressure: Leading up to labor, your baby will drop and it can feel like they are about ready to fall out of you. You can feel a lot of pelvic pressure. I always say it’s like you are walking around with a bowling ball between your legs. If you start feeling that way then you know labor will be coming in the next days or weeks.

Nesting: This can be an early predictor that the baby is getting closer to arriving. You might find the urge to want to clean all over your home. You will hit every nook and cranny you can find. Yes, nesting is a real

Effacement: This is the thinning of the cervix. This can start anywhere in the last month of pregnancy or even sooner. You might hear you are 15% effaced. This means your cervix is beginning to stretch and thin out.

Dilation: This goes along with effacement! They will check you generally the last month of pregnancy to see how you are progressing. You might be 2 cm dilated for the last month of pregnancy, it is totally okay. Being dilated doesn’t mean the baby is coming right now, but it means your body is preparing!

Discharge or Leakage: If you find you seem to be leaking fluid and it doesn’t stop, it could be your water leaking. This is something that you need to get checked out, with your doctor right away. If you see a bloody discharge or mucous, this could be your mucous plug coming out. This is something that can happen to women before labor. Now, this can happen days, weeks, or just hours before birth. So keep an eye on the discharge the last few weeks of pregnancy. Although discharge even blood tinged one is normal if something doesn’t feel right or you start bleeding make sure and call your doctor right away.

Consistent Contractions: Braxton Hicks are more irregular than the real deal. If you are unsure grab some water and start drinking. Sometimes being dehydrated can cause you to have more consistent contractions. Drink water and lay on your side for an hour. Monitor your contractions and if they stay consistent and are closer than ten minutes apart, call your doctor or head to the hospital.

Every woman is different and each of the process were different leading up to each of my 5 births. That being said the above were very helpful signs to know that my body was doing what it was meant to do to get ready for the big event.

Looking for more helpful pregnancy information? Don’t forget to check out some of my other pregnancy related articles here.


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  • Reply Yu-ting Huang

    I’m expecting my first childn in August. So these are helpful information. I did not know there are apps to help you time contractions! I should get one of those!

    June 13, 2017 at 8:58 am
  • Reply Katie Andersen

    I waited and waited and waited for signs of labor and still ended up getting induced – good to know for whenever the next kiddo appears though!

    June 12, 2017 at 12:12 pm
  • Reply Michelle S

    I read all the books with my first one but ended up throwing up persistently the day before I was due. I thought I had a stomach bug turns out I was in labor and had him the next morning.

    June 9, 2017 at 9:25 am
  • Reply Korie B

    It’s so funny, I’m a first time mom. So, I was googling “signs of labor” from like 34 weeks on when I was pregnant with my daughter so posts like this are super helpful to FTMs. Now, if we choose to have another baby, I feel like “how did I ever question? When you’re in labor, you KNOW!” Haha. Oh to do it all again 😉

    June 8, 2017 at 11:53 am
  • Reply Calvin F.

    Important to know, thanks.

    June 7, 2017 at 4:36 pm
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