As expectant mothers approach the end of their pregnancy, one thing is on their mind: labor. Typically, we associate labor with contractions and water breaking, but there are other signs that labor is imminent. Here are some signs to look out for besides contractions and water breaking.
1. Increased vaginal discharge: As the body prepares for labor, the cervix softens and your body increases the production of cervical mucus. This discharge may be streaked with blood and is known as the “bloody show.” It is a strong indication that labor is close.
2. Nesting instinct: In the final weeks of pregnancy, it is common for expectant mothers to experience an overwhelming urge to clean and organize their surroundings. This is often referred to as the “nesting instinct” and is a sign that labor may be just around the corner.
3. Diarrhea: Before labor begins, your body releases prostaglandins, which can cause bowel movements to become loose and frequent. This is a signal that your body is preparing for the baby’s arrival.
4. Pelvic pressure: As the baby descends into the pelvis, you may experience increased pelvic pressure and discomfort. It may feel like the baby is pushing down, and you may find it difficult to walk or move around.
5. Back pain: Many women experience back pain before going into labor. This is because as the baby moves down into the pelvis, it puts pressure on the lower back.
6. Intense Braxton Hicks contractions: Braxton Hicks contractions are a common occurrence during pregnancy, but as labor approaches, they become more frequent and intense. These contractions may be mistaken for the real thing, but they are not usually as painful or consistent as true labor contractions.
It is essential to note that while these symptoms may indicate that labor is near, it is not a guarantee. Every pregnancy is different, and labor can begin in many ways. If you experience any of these signs, it is important to talk to your doctor or midwife to get the best possible advice.
In conclusion, while contractions and water breaking may be the most well-known signs of labor, there are other signs to look out for. Increased vaginal discharge, nesting instinct, diarrhea, pelvic pressure, back pain, and intense Braxton Hicks contractions are other signs that labor may be approaching. Remember to listen to your body and seek medical advice if you have any concerns. Good luck!