Weird signs labor is near

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As we all know, pregnancy is about 9 ½ months long…except for the last 2 weeks, which take approximately 173 years to pass.

Every day feels like an eternity. You’re uncomfortable, kind of over the whole pregnancy thing, and just so excited to have your baby in your arms! 

As the end of pregnancy approaches, you may find yourself paying extra attention to your body and wondering if different sensations mean you’re about to go into labor.

You’ve heard about contractions, but are there other signs that labor is about to start? There are indeed! And some of these signs of labor can be weird…so it’s a good idea to know what may be coming.

Remember, your best resource is your healthcare provider.

Every birth is different! If you think labor is starting, if you’re not sure if what you are experiencing is normal, or if you have any questions at all, call your provider. It’s their job to support you.

Here are 7 weird signs that labor is near!

1. Diarrhea

In the days or hours leading up to labor (as well as during labor), you may find that you have loose stools or diarrhea.

This is thanks to the hormone prostaglandin, which works to soften and relax your cervix in labor, but can also relax other parts of your body, like your GI tract. (Lovely.)

While this can be unpleasant, it really is a good thing. A softer cervix will bring you that much closer to meeting your baby! 

Important tip: Hydration is really important in labor, so if you have diarrhea, replenish the lost fluids by frequently sipping water.

2. Your water breaks… or did it?

Your water may break before or during labor. But sometimes, it can be hard to tell if it breaks!

Your water breaking can be a big release of fluid (you’ll probably think you peed in your pants for a second) or a tiny trickle… and that’s where it gets tricky.

At the end of pregnancy, it’s very normal to have a lot of vaginal discharge and moisture, so it can be hard to tell if your water broke or if it’s just normal discharge.

Try this: put a pad in your underwear, and note whether the fluid continues to leak or if it was just a one-time occurrence.

If you experience continual fluid leaking, chances are good that it’s your water breaking. Don’t worry, it’s very common for people to not be sure! 

Ultimately, the best way to tell if your water broke is to get checked out by your provider, who can do a few quick tests to help you determine if your water broke.

And if you do have the telltale big gush, call your provider, as well. They may have specific recommendations about coming in to get your labor started.

3. Bloody mucus dischargeLosing your mucus plug

During pregnancy, a glob of mucus sits in the cervix to help prevent bacteria from moving from the vagina to the uterus.

As your cervix softens in preparation for labor, that glob can fall out.

It looks like mucus (yes, like when you blow your nose when you have a cold) mixed with a streak of blood (if it’s more than a teaspoon of blood, you should get evaluated by your provider to make sure it’s nothing more serious).

Now, not everyone can see when they lose their mucus plug. And it can happen weeks before labor starts—in fact, the mucus plug even re-form. But it does mean things are getting closer!

4. Back pain

When we think of labor pain, we often think of the pain of abdominal contractions.

But believe it or not, it’s very normal to feel pain in other parts of your body. The uterus is supported by the ligaments and muscles around it; when they get activated, you may feel pain and discomfort in weird places.

For many people, the first labor pains happen in the back, not the belly! In fact, many people don’t even realize it’s labor at first; after all, no pregnant person is a stranger to back pain. You may also start to feel pain down your thighs as things pick up.

5. Feeling like you have to poop

Labor really is glamorous, isn’t it?

As labor approaches, your baby may move further down into your pelvis, a process called lightening.

This often makes it easier to breathe (ahhh) but increases your pelvic pressure (ouch). As your baby’s head presses down, it may put pressure on your rectum, which makes you feel like you have to poop. You may also have to pee a lot more with all that pressure on your bladder.

Important note: If you are actively contracting and feel like you have to poop, it’s time to go to call your provider and go to your birthing place if you haven’t already… like, now.

This is often the signal that you’re getting ready to push and baby is about to come!

6. Lightning crotch

Another possible symptom of the lightening is, well, lightning; but this time it describes the lightning (as in the streaks of light during a storm) sensation of pain that can shoot down your vagina (I wish there was a better term for this, but it’s just so spot on… IYKYK).

As your baby gets lower into your pelvis, their head may move in such a way as to cause a zing of pain in your vagina. It’s not pleasant, but it is a good sign!

As always, it’s always a good idea to check in with your provider about weird pains if you’re not sure.

7. Burst of energy

As labor nears, you may find yourself getting a burst of energy.

This may be the sudden urge to clean everything, but it may also present as insomnia or even a sense of nervousness.

It makes sense: Your body knows that your world is about to change! If you do get this energy burst pre-labor, try to find ways to rest despite your urge to move.

It’s hard to do, but remember that you are about to give birth, and your body needs as much energy as possible. Take naps, put your feet up, and get excited: It’s almost time!

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