Even though you've been anticipating the birth of your baby for several months, it may be difficult to tell when labor actually begins. People say, "you'll just know," but that's hardly reassuring. How can you interpret your body's changes as labor approaches? While every pregnancy is unique, these common signs and symptoms signal your body is getting ready for labor:
The following descriptions may help you to distinguish between true and false labor contractions:
Cervical Effacement and Dilation: The process of shortening and thinning of your cervix is called effacement. Dilation, or the stretching or opening, allows your baby's head to pass through at birth. Your cervix may thin out during pregnancy and even dilate a bit in these last weeks, but in true labor, effacement and dilation generally happen together.