Whether it is your first baby or you have had multiple babies, approaching labor can always be a bit anxiety-inducing. Labor can be both the best part of pregnancy, and the worst.
Due to its pain and all of the health implications, labor and delivery can cause a lot of women to be worried and anxious.
Often, this anxiety may lead to fears about knowing when or if you have actually gone into labor.
This article is going o help prepare you for labor and delivery, and help you recognize the signs of approaching labor so you can calm your nerves and alleviate any anxiety you may have surrounding labor.
Here are seven tell-tale signs that your baby is on its way very soon.
1. Baby Dropping
For labor and delivery to occur, your baby needs to drop into your birth canal. This can occur up to a month before your labor actually begins if you are a first time mom.
However, if you feel your baby drop into the birth canal, then you know that it will be only a few short weeks before you deliver.
If you have already delivered a child, then you may experience your baby dropping only a few days before labor will start.
Your baby dropping can be an uncomfortable feeling, but it is a great sign. Many women may feel pressure and some pain in their pelvis when the baby drops, especially when they walk.
This feeling comes from your baby’s head pressing on your cervix. While this may feel uncomfortable, it means that your baby is in the right position for a safe delivery.
2. Increased Cramping and Pain
As your labor approaches, you may start to experience more cramping and pain. These cramps may be called Braxton Hicks Contractions, and are a way that your body prepares for labor.
These contractions are practice contractions and allow your muscles and joints to stretch and get ready for labor.
As you approach your due date, you may start to feel more and more of these Braxton Hicks Contractions.
But, if you notice that your practice contractions and pains are becoming more regular and closer together then call your doctor. This may indicate that your practice contractions have turned into real contractions.
3. Loose Joints
Some women reach the end of their pregnancy and realize that they have become a bit clumsier than usual.
While this may be because of the changes in their bodies and their big pregnancy bellies, it also may be a sign of approaching labor.
As you get closer and closer to your due date, your joints and ligaments will begin to get looser to prepare your pelvis for delivery.
If you suddenly have the urge to clean your home from top to bottom and redo the entire nursery, then you may be approaching your delivery date.
Nesting is a primal instinct that makes you want to get everything ready for your baby. Not every woman feels this instinct, but if you do, then your house may get a deep cleaning right before you go into labor.
5. Mucus Plug
As your labor approaches, you may notice that you lose your mucus plug. This is a small amount of mucus that is at the end of your cervix and protests your uterus from bacteria and other infections.
Your mucus plug may come out all at once, or in smaller pieces. If you notice this loss, then don’t worry. It just means that you may start feeling stronger and more regular contractions within the next few days.
6. Stronger Contractions
The tell-tale sign of labor approach is that your contractions and pains begin to get stronger. At first, your Braxton Hicks Contractions will be soft and short.
As you get closer to your delivery date, you will begin to notice stronger contractions that may knock you off of your feet and take your breath away.
Stronger contractions are a good sign because it means that your uterus is getting ready for delivery.
Once again though, if your contractions become regular and are consistent, then head to the hospital because it might be time for your baby to come.
7. Water Breaks
If your water breaks, then you are definitely in labor and need to head to the hospital. Even if you are not full term yet, you should go to the doctor or the hospital the minute that your water breaks.
Once your water breaks, the baby needs to be checked on and your amniotic fluid level needs to be obtained. If you are full term, then your water breaking means that you will definitely be having your baby within the next day or two.
If you are pre-term then your doctor may try to stop your labor and then reevaluate your amniotic fluid level to ensure that your baby is safe and healthy.
If you are nervous about labor and delivery, then talk with your doctor. Every woman has a bit of anxiousness surrounding labor and delivery, but every woman’s body was created for this process.
A little nervousness is normal, but just remember that your body will deliver your child if you are nervous or excited.
If you experience any of these signs of approaching labor, then rest assured that your body is doing its thing to start labor.
These signs of approaching labor may occur as early as a month before your due date. You may experience some or all of these signs, or your body may have its own signs that tell you that labor is approaching.
Be aware of your body, and always ask your doctor about any signs or symptoms that seem out of the ordinary for you.
Most of all, be excited as you feel these approaching signs of labor. These signs mean that you will soon have your baby and start a new adventure with your family.