How to Tell When Labor Begins
If you are pregnant and are nearing your estimated due date, you are probably wondering how labor will feel, how long it will take, and how you will know you’re in labor or if it’s a false alarm. It’s hard to predict what it will look like because labor and birth look different for every new mom. But knowing what labor is and what signs to look for will help you know when it’s almost time to meet your baby.
What Is Labor?Labor is the process of childbirth that starts with contractions of the uterus and ends with the delivery of the baby. From the start of labor and throughout early labor, the baby will continue to move around. When labor begins, the cervix dilates or opens and the uterus will start to contract at recurring intervals. Between contractions, the uterus will relax and become soft but when it contracts, the abdomen becomes hard. There are certain changes you will notice that will signal that labor is beginning, some that you may notice and others that you won’t. They are as follows:
- You will feel the baby dropping lower. This may happen from a few weeks to a few hours before labor begins and as a result of the baby dropping, the baby’s head will have settled deep into your pelvis.
- You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge that is clear, pink, or slightly bloody several days before labor or at the onset of labor. This happens as the result of a thick mucus plug accumulating at the cervix during pregnancy.