Am I in labor? Early Signs & Symptoms of labor approaching

Am i in Labor?

These are the early signs indicating that labor is near.


At the end of the third trimester, the baby settles, or drops lower, into the mother’s pelvis.
In first-time mothers, this happens 2 to 4 weeks before delivery. In women who have already had children, the baby may not drop until labor begins. Your breathing becomes more manageable. Heartburn occurs less frequently after dropping occurs. But the increased pressure on your bladder after dropping occurs may make you have the urge to urinate more often.
During the last month, your doctor will estimate how far the baby’s head has moved down into (engaged) the pelvis. This is measured in “stations.” A baby is at –3 station when the head is above the pelvis and at 0 station when the head is at the bottom of the pelvis (fully engaged). The baby is at +3 station when the head begins to emerge from the birth canal (crowning).

Bloody show

During pregnancy, there’s a plug of mucus in your cervix. This mucus comes away just before or during early labor, and it may pass out of your vagina. This sticky, jelly-like pink mucus is called a show.
It may come away in 1 blob or several pieces. It’s pink because it contains a small amount of blood.
The show indicates that you are entering into labor. Remember, if there is heavy bleeding, immediately consult your gynaecologist, as this can signify something is wrong.

Contractions or tightening

When you have a contraction, your womb tightens and then relaxes. For some people, contractions may feel like extreme period pains.
You may have had contractions during your pregnancy, particularly towards the end. These tightenings are called Braxton Hicks contractions and are usually painless.
Your contractions tend to become longer, stronger and more frequent as your labor progresses. During a contraction, the muscles tighten and the pain increases. If you put your hand on your abdomen, you’ll feel it getting harder; when the muscles relax, the pain fades, and you will feel the hardness at ease.
The contractions are pushing your baby down and opening the entrance to your womb (the cervix), ready for your baby to go through.
You need to identify actual labor pains and false pains. False pains are called Braxton Hicks contractions, practice or artificial contractions because they prepare for the actual event and allow the opportunity to practice the breathing exercises taught in childbirth classes. These artificial contractions begin as early as the second trimester but more in the third trimester.

Characteristics of false pains are:

  • Irregular in intensity
  • Infrequent
  • Unpredictable
  • Non-rhythmic

More uncomfortable than painful (although for some women, Braxton Hicks can feel painful). These false pains do not increase in intensity or frequency and they taper off and then disappear altogether.


Lower back pain radiating to the lower legs, which does not subside even on changing positions, is one of the signs of labor. One may notice an increase in mild cramps that feel like a tightening or hardening of the uterus.

Water break

If your waters break naturally, you may feel a slow trickle or a sudden gush of fluid that you can’t stop. Your waters may break before you go to the hospital but are more likely to break during labor.

If you experience the following, your waters may have broken:

  • A popping sensation followed by a gush or trickle of fluid
  •  An unusual amount of dampness in your underwear that doesn’t smell like urine
  •  Uncontrollable leaking of small or large amounts of fluid from the vagina that doesn’t smell like urine.

High energy levels / Nesting

You might wake up one morning feeling energetic, eager to fill the freezer with prepared meals, set up the crib and arrange your baby’s outfits according to colour. This urge is commonly known as the nesting instinct.
Nesting can begin at any time during pregnancy, but it’s a sign that labor is approaching for some women. Do what you must, but don’t wear yourself out. Save your energy for the more challenging work of labor ahead.

Loose stools

Loose stools or diarrhea can signify impending labor caused by the release of hormones called prostaglandins. It is the body’s way of emptying the bowels to allow the uterus to contract efficiently
If your diarrhea is mild, it’s probably nothing to worry about. But if you also have a fever, severe stomach cramping, or diarrhea that lasts more than a day or two, Consult your gynaecologist.

When to go to the hospital and consult your gynaecologist?

  • When contractions are regular and app. 20minutes apart
  • When the water bag breaks. Remember to check the colour of Amniotic fluid Normally it is transparent and odourless
  • You need to rush if the amniotic fluid is greenish-yellow and foul smelling

Things to do once the labor begins for easy and faster vaginal delivery:

  • Do not confine yourself to bed; move around and walk
  • Keep your hydrated; keep sipping water
  • Don’t Scream or shout; instead, one can follow breathing and relaxation techniques. For more details on breathing and relaxation techniques contact
  • Try to be upright: When you be upright, the available space in the pelvis increases by 28- 30%
  • Involve your partner rub your spine and lower back, as it will soothe you
  • Visit the bathroom very often that is empty your bladder
  • Massage: The birth partner can follow massaging techniques.

    For more details on massaging techniques, you can contact our gynaecologist. You can Call 8639110776 to book your appointment.

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