Signs of Labor

by Anai Rhoads, freelance health and political researcher/writer

Here are some of the signs of labour.

(Note: You may not experience all of these symptoms).

Term Description
Bloody Show Your mucous plug seals the opening of the cervix. As the cervix thins and relaxes, the plug is dislodged and will look like blood-tinged mucous. Labour could be imminent, hours, or even days away.
Contractions You've been having contractions for most of your pregnancy as your uterus and body prepare for delivery. Most of these contractions are painless. Towards your due date, these Braxton-Hicks contractions may increase in frequency and intensity.
Diarrhea Birth hormones can cause abdominal cramps. This is nature's way of emptying your intestines to make room for the baby's passage through the birth canal.
Dilatation Dilatation is the process of your cervix opening up to allow for passage of the baby. Full dilatation is 10 cm.
Effacement Unless you have an exam and your care provider tells you your cervix is effacing, you won't realise it. Your cervix is usually an inch or so thick during pregnancy, and it will begin to thin (efface) out.
False Labour Usually felt in the lower abdomen and groin. They usually don't follow a regular pattern and will eventually stop.
Lightening You may notice one day that there is a space between your breasts and abdomen. As you get closer to your due date, the baby will drop into your pelvis (called lightening). This can happen weeks before delivery or even the day of delivery.
Rupture of Membranes Also called "water breaking" is amniotic fluid surrounding your baby inside your uterus. It may trickle out or gush.
True Labour Tends to start at the top of your uterus radiating down through your abdomen and lower back. They will develop a regular pattern and grow in intensity and frequency. A change of activity will not stop true labour.

Anai Rhoads is a medical and political researcher/writer with a particular interest in the sanctions on Iraq and the wider effect of racism's influence in the Middle East. A vegan since 2000, she is a dedicated supporter of activities which promote animal and human rights. Originally from Greece, she now resides in Virginia, USA with her husband and their two dogs, Bijou and Eva.

Copyright © Anai Rhoads. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.

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