Early Signs Of Labour – How Will I Know When The Baby Is Coming?
What Are The Early Signs Of Labour?
What are the early signs of labour, and how will you know the baby is coming? This is one of the BIG questions I had in my third trimester of pregnancy and towards the end of both of my pregnancies.
I was reminded of this recently when my pregnant sister-in-law was two weeks overdue when expecting her baby, and quizzed me about what my early signs of labour were.
When you’re at the end of pregnancy, you just want to know when the baby is coming, don’t you?!
(You can read all my sister-in-law in my post on What It’s Like To Have A Baby During Coronavirus Lockdown).
What Does The Beginning of Labour Feel Like?
I thought I’d write a post about the early signs of my labour, as ‘am I in early labour?’ and ‘how will I know when I’m in labour?’ was something I spent a lot of time Googling.
The tricky answer is it’s different for everyone and it can be different for each pregnancy.
With my first baby, I had an induction of labour which is a completely different experience when it comes to early labour which progresses naturally.
With my second labour, where I wasn’t induced, I had my first proper contraction at midnight and then the baby was born at 4am, but with hindsight I was in early labour at least the day before. Looking back now, I definitely had symptoms before labour started.
How Will You Know When You’re In Early Labour – For Sure?
Again, it’s hard to tell as it’s different with everyone! Even though I was having consistent contractions and was 8cm when I got to hospital, it took the midwife telling me I was in labour to properly convince me the baby was about to arrive and we wouldn’t be waiting round for days.
But there are a lot of early signs of labour that will give you the clues that the baby is on the way.
Ten Early Signs Of Labour – the less obvious signs
Here are ten signs I had that labour was starting – some of these are less obvious signs you are in labour, and some are the more well-known signs you are in labour.
Again, this is different for everyone and depends per person, but a lot of these are common signs that labour is starting in the ninth month of pregnancy.
If you are worried about anything, or there is a change in your baby’s movements, ring your midwife.
- The Baby Dropped
The baby dropping, moving down or becoming engaged in your pelvis is a sign that labour might be starting soon. Although it’s normal for the baby to move into position towards the end of pregnancy in the third trimester, in second pregnancies babies tend to only engage for labour right before they come out.
The day before I gave birth the baby definitely felt lower, and her head felt right down in my pelvis – to the extent that it was tricky to walk! She actually felt like she might drop out.
- Braxton Hicks Become More Frequent
Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy are where your womb tightens and then relaxes. They are usually uncomfortable and feel really strange – especially to look at! – but they are not painful. My Braxton Hicks contractions really ramped up the day before I gave birth, to the extent that I thought they actually were contractions.
- You Get A Sudden Burst Of Energy
A big burst of energy is another early sign that labour might be starting soon. This might manifest in the ‘nesting’ feeling, or you wanting to run around the house doing all the jobs you forgot to do. In early labour I was painting our living room and my mum forced me to go shopping – somehow I had the energy!
- You Have An Overwhelming Wave Of Emotion
I was out shopping with my mum and toddler the day before the baby arrived, but all of a sudden I felt a change, like the baby was coming soon, and I felt a wave of overwhelming emotion and burst into tears in the middle of the M&S café. It’s hard to but into words, as you’re usually hormonal and emotional during pregnancy anyway! However, to me this was a clear sign that labour was starting soon as it felt so different.
- Nausea, sickness or an upset stomach are common signs
It’s common to feel sick or have an upset stomach during early labour, a your body and muscles relax ready to give birth, and you are flooded with hormones.
- Backache or Cramping Pains – Ouch!
Backache or cramping pains are also a sign of early labour. They might feel like bad period pains, or they might not be that painful at all, just uncomfortable
- Early Labour – You Lose the Mucus Plug
Losing the mucus plug, or having a bloody ‘show’ is another early sign that you might be in labour. However, some people don’t have this until right before the baby actually comes out.
- Your Waters Break
For some people, your waters breaking are one of the earliest signs of labour and one of the biggest and most obvious signs the baby is coming.
- Contractions Start
For some people, contractions might start early and ramp up and down, to the extent that you are not sure if you are having contractions or Braxton Hicks. For me, mine started with a bang, and I knew that I was in early labour and the baby was coming – soon.
What were your early signs of labour?
If you’re pregnant, make sure you read these posts: