It can be a little tricky to know precisely when you're in labor. Childbirth and a woman's labor experience vary from one person to the next and from one child to another.
Remember, labor is a process. During pregnancy, you'll experience a variety of sensations and feelings. As "baby time" approaches, there will be more. Some signs are letting you know that you're probably going into labor soon. While other signs are an indication that it is "got time!" It could be hours or even days before the act of giving birth takes place.
Signs You Might Be Going Into Labor
- The "Baby Dropped": As the delivery day gets close, your baby will move down into the uterus. This is called lightning. Below you'll find the symptoms.
- Pressure in pelvis
- A lighter feeling in the rib cage
- Frequent bathroom visits (A lot)
- Heartburn relief
- Breathing easier
Remember, different women will experience these symptoms in their own way.
- An Increase of Vaginal Discharge: Vaginal discharge is pretty typical for many women. If you notice an increase in discharge during pregnancy and it's close to your due date, that means your mucus plug has moved. It covers the cervix's opening throughout the pregnancy before it is pushed into the vagina when the cervix starts to dilate.
- Strong Regular Contractions: When your contractions are 5 to 10 minutes apart, getting more robust, and coming in shorter waves or intervals as time goes on, it's about to be baby time. Some women experience false contractions, which we'll discuss in more detail shortly.
- Water Breaks: The sac of amniotic fluid or "bag of water" breaks as the baby prepares for the big moment. When this happens, the fluid leaks out. For some, it's only a trickle, while others experience a heavy gush.
True Labor vs. False labor
False labor happens all the time. Most moms know the time is coming soon, so it seems with any slight indication that they might be going into labor, they're expecting the complete ordeal. Let's look at a few of the differences between the two.
True Labor: Contractions come in regular intervals, about every 20 minutes down to every five minutes. Each contraction lasts about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
False Labor: Irregular contractions that don't ever get any closer together. They just seem to come and go without any sort of pattern.
True Labor: Pain generally starts around the lower back and comes around to the belly region.
False Labor: Pain or discomfort is usually only felt in the abdomen.
True Labor: The strength of contractions will steadily increase over time. The amount of time between contractions also slowly shifts.
False Labor: Contractions during false labor are usually weak and don't progress anymore in strength.
True Labor: Your contractions will come and go regardless of what position you're in or what you're doing.
False Labor: The contractions will often stop if you reposition yourself.
Always remember, your body is one of a kind. If you feel as though you should be concerned or that you might be in labor, talk to your doctor. Just because signs you're experiencing aren't the same as another woman's doesn't mean anything. Trust your body, and don't hesitate to reach out to a health care provider.