Signs and Symptoms of Labor

November 12, 2012

Signs and Symptoms of Labor

While most pregnant women are excited about the impending delivery and childbirth, you may also anxious about the process of labor. The confusing signs and symptoms of labor may add to the problem, especially the first time around.


Many women experience false contractions, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, weeks or days before their actual due date. These contractions prepare your body for the upcoming labor by getting your baby into position and softening your cervix. They do not follow any pattern and disappear once you move. You can easily differentiate them from actual labor symptoms, the true contractions.

  • True contractions are very uncomfortable and painful. They start at the back and radiate forward to make your whole belly hard.

  • The strength of the contraction can be determined by how hard they make your belly.

  • Contractions may also manifest inform of a backache. If you suspect these contractions, check the hardness of your belly.

You will need a few hours to actually differentiate between true and false contractions. Do not panic during this time. Follow your daily routine, eat a healthy diet and drink lots of fluids. Remember that labor can still take days to begin. You do not have to start preparing just yet. Strong contractions that increase in intensity and get closer together are actual labor symptoms. Frequent and strong contractions before 37 weeks may indicate pre-term labor. You should talk to your doctor right away, if you suspect this.

Nesting Instinct

You may also experience a sudden burst of energy which may motivate you to clean the house and arrange the baby’s room. You may also become extremely moody or sensitive, and burst into tears for no apparent reason.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Some women may also experience nausea, vomiting as well as diarrhea. These labor symptoms are good indicators of the impending delivery.

Mucus Plug

A couple days of mild contractions may be followed by increased secretion of bloody mucus. Dilation of the cervix is responsible for this.

Breaking of Water

Breaking of water is possibly the only concrete labor symptom. It is characterized by a gush of fluid from your vagina, or slow leak of small amounts of it. Some women may experience uncontrolled flow of urine as well. If you are confused, you may try stopping the fluid with Kegel exercises. Urine will stop flowing while the amniotic fluid will not.

You should immediately contact your doctor and go to the birthing facility if you suspect that your water has broken.

Your doctor will provide you with guidelines for checking into the hospital. Most experts, however, agree that you should go to the birthing center if you experience labor symptoms such as contractions that are five minutes apart, or if your water breaks.

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