So many mothers, especially first time mothers, wonder if they are in early labor. The following are five indications that you may be in early labor:
- Discharge: While pregnant, the cervix stays closed and plugged up with mucus to protect your baby from infection. As you progress towards labor, your cervix begins to dilate and soften to prepare for delivery, causing what has accumulated there to dislodge. Mucus can measure up to a teaspoon. That comes out as a “blob,” referred to as the “mucus plug” or as a runny smear. Also, blood vessels Kenter as the cervix open, canteen your vaginal discharge with blood, known as “bloody show.”
- Diarrhea: During the early part of labor, your body starts to release prostaglandins, a group of hormone like substances that cause the uterus to contract and help soften and dilate the cervix. Prostaglandin can also stimulate the bowels, causing frequent bowel movements or even diarrhea. Remember to stay hydrated!
- Severe Back Pain: Even though your back has probably been aching for months, when the pain becomes severe, this can be a sign that you are experiencing back labor, which happens to approximately one third of women. Normally, babies descend the birth canal with their face pressed against the mom’s spine but, in back labor, the baby is decending with it’s skull hitting mom’s spine. The results of this? Constant pain may radiate to the abdomen but it is mostly concentrated in the back. The result of this? Constant pain may radiate to the abdomen but it is mostly concentrated in the back. Whether you are experiencing back labor or not, this extremely severe back pain is a signal that you are ready to have your baby.
- Contractions: Contractions are a sign of early labor, although you can experience of Braxton hicks contractions for weeks and even months before delivery. So, how can you tell the difference between real labor contractions and Braxton Hicks contractions? Look for the following signs of real labor: (1. When you are active, your contractions get stronger rather than easing up. 2. Contractions progress, meaning they get more frequent and more painful and sometimes fall into a regular pattern. 3. The contraction pains start in your lower back and moves to your lower abdomen and sometimes even your legs. 4. If you change position the contractions do not go away.) If you think you are only having Braxton Hicks contractions, they can be caused by hunger or dehydration. Eat something and hydrate and that can usually stop Braxton Hicks.
- Your Water Breaks: Only about 8 to 15% of women have their water break as a sign of labor. If it does break, it usually is a small leak of clear, odorless amniotic fluid, versus a big gush of amniotic fluid because your babies head often prevents too much fluid from leaking out. No one knows what triggers your waters to break.
If you are still in doubt about whether or not you are in labor, contact your care provider or your labor and delivery unit.