Babies like to keep us guessing, and there are never any guarantees about when labor will start. But does that mean that there are no clues to watch out for? Of course not!
Here are some classic signs that labor is 24 to 48 hours away.
In this article 📝
- How do you feel the day before labor?
- How can you tell if labor is close?
- Weird things that happen before labor
How do you feel the day before labor?
Everyone’s answer will be different.
You might feel completely normal the day before you go into labor.
You might be fed up, impatient, and bored of being pregnant.
You might be overwhelmed by your “nesting instinct” and want to scrub the baseboards in every room of your house.
It’s always fun to hear people’s stories of what they were doing right before they went into labor.
But in an ideal world, if you knew that you were about to start life with a newborn, you’d probably take a nap, eat a nutritious meal, and maybe catch up with your partner and friends without having to worry about bringing a diaper bag with you.
How can you tell if labor is close?
Although labor is unpredictable, your body might give you some signs that things are about to get started.
Just remember, some of these things might happen as early as two or three weeks before labor starts, especially if it’s not your first baby.
Symptoms before labor begins: Lightening
Also known as the baby “dropping”.
Can you suddenly breathe easier than you have in weeks? But now suddenly you need to pee every thirty minutes?
It might be that your baby has dropped down into your pelvis.
If it’s your first baby, it’s not unusual for them to stay “higher” until you have your first contractions.
But this is one of those subtle labor signs that might happen much earlier for subsequent pregnancies.
It can be hard to tell the difference between this “practice labor” and the real thing.
If the contractions come and go, or if they disappear when you change position, you probably have some more waiting to do.
But Braxton Hicks can be a clear sign that it won’t be too much longer.
Diarrhea at this stage in your pregnancy can happen not because you’re sick, but because your muscles are relaxing and preparing for labor.
It’s also common to vomit during labor, but this doesn’t usually happen until things are well underway.
Losing your mucus plug
This is sometimes known as “having a bloody show”.
Your mucus plug is a barrier that forms between your vagina and uterus during early pregnancy to protect your baby from bacteria.
As your cervix starts to shorten, soften and open at the beginning of labor, the mucus plug can fall out in one piece, or as a lot of extra vaginal discharge.
Does your baby move a lot before labor?
Actually, you probably won’t notice your baby moving more than usual before labor begins.
In fact, you might feel fewer movements, because they’re getting comfy in your pelvis and they simply don’t have as much space as they did a few weeks ago.
Just be sure to keep track of when you feel your baby move. If you feel less than 10 kicks in two hours, give your doctor a call.
Weird things that happen before labor
If those pre-labor symptoms weren’t weird enough, here are some more to watch out for:
- Nesting: The sudden urge to organize the baby clothes and clean behind the dryer, right now. While exhaustion at the end of pregnancy is normal, you might get a sudden burst of energy for obscure household chores.
- Clumsiness: As your body gets ready to push out your baby, your levels of the hormone relaxin go up, to help your tendons stretch. A common side effect? Tripping, dropping things, and twisting your joints. Be careful out there, mama.
- Weight loss: Whether it’s from your amniotic fluid levels dropping slightly at the end of pregnancy, or because your imminent new arrival means you’re spending more time on the toilet, it’s normal for your weight to dip a little just before your baby comes.
Hang in there, mama. Hopefully, it won’t be long before you meet your little peanut.
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