6 Signs That Labor Is Near

Preparing for the arrival of a newborn is an exhilarating time, but also may be filled with eager anticipation and a sense of wonder. As the due date approaches, the question of when labor will begin is often at the forefront of many mothers’ minds. Thankfully, there are a few telltale signs that labor is near, which can help you prepare to welcome your little miracle into this world. 

Signs Of Labor

From physical changes to emotional shifts, these signs can serve as a general guideline that labor is near. Here at Kernodle OB/GYN, we provide full-scope individualized women’s health care and understand that recognizing the signs that labor is near can bring a sense of preparedness for expectant mothers. 

1. Lightening

Lightening refers to when a baby settles or drops lower in the mother’s pelvis. This may not be a sign of immediate labor, but it is a good indicator that the baby is ready to come relatively soon. At this time, your baby has settled deep into your pelvis, which can relieve pressure on your diaphragm and lungs, but may also lead to increased pressure on the bladder.

2. Increased Discharge

During late in your third trimester, a thick plug of mucus blocks the cervical opening with the intention of preventing bacteria from entering the uterus. When this happens, many women may experience an increase in vaginal discharge. This discharge can be clear or slightly bloody. 

3. Contractions

In the final weeks of pregnancy, numerous women encounter sporadic contractions, which are a sensation of the uterus tightening and relaxing. These pre-labor contractions are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Distinguishing between Braxton Hicks contractions and actual labor contractions can sometimes be challenging. To identify which type of contractions you are experiencing, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are the contractions regular or sporadic?
  • How long do the contractions last?
  • Do the contractions stop?
  • Are the contractions getting stronger over time?

Many women experience contractions that indicate “false alarms.” It is important to understand the difference between contractions that indicate labor is near versus Braxton Hicks contractions. 

4. Water Breaking

One of the most talked about symptoms that indicate labor is near is when a woman’s water breaks. This rupture of the amniotic sac is a significant sign that labor is imminent. This may result in a sudden gush of fluid or a slow trickle of water from the vagina. If this happens, it’s essential to notify your healthcare provider immediately. 

5. Backache

Backaches come and go throughout pregnancy, especially as your baby grows and adds pressure to your lower abdomen. However, this also can be a sign that labor is near. If you’re experiencing feelings similar to strong menstrual cramps, pain in your lower back that radiates down your leg, or pain that persists even if you change positions, it could be a sign that labor is near.

6. Nesting

A spurt of energy that leaves you with a strong desire to clean, organize, and prepare for your baby is referred to as the nesting instinct. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that this overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby is not a tell-tale sign of labor, but usually happens within the last couple of weeks. It is important to remember that not all pregnant women have this desire. 

At Kernodle OB/GYN, we provide patients with a team approach through physician and midwifery care. We provide full-scope individualized women’s health care, including gynecological care, midwifery services, and low- and high-risk maternity care for women and their families. If you want to learn more ways to recognize that labor is near, give us a call for more information or check out our website.

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