If you read my posts, you probably know what happens when labor starts.
But how do you know if you’re close?
Those last few weeks of pregnancy are nuts. Both of my daughters decided to come out at 38 weeks. I had friends that gave birth at 37 weeks, 39 weeks, 40 weeks, and even a few that had to be induced after that.
Looking back, I had some signs I wished I’d paid deeper attention to. Then I wouldn’t have been so surprised when I went into labor with my eldest. For my youngest, I was much more prepared.
Early Signs of Labor to Clue You In
Here’s a little more about those earliest signs labor will happen to you soon. Keep in mind it could be a few days or a few more weeks from this point!
- The Baby Has Dropped
Known as lightening, your baby will drop down into your pelvis to prepare for birth. For first-time mamas, this will happen about 2 to 4 weeks before you go into labor. However, if you have any kids after this, it won’t happen until you begin labor.
- You’ll Find It’s Easier to Breathe
Towards the end of pregnancy, many mamas struggle with breathing. That’s because your baby is taking up so much real estate in the uterus, pushing onto your other organs, like your lungs. Once the baby drops into your pelvis, it gives you more room to breathe.
- You Have to Pee A LOT
You may get closer to labor if you notice you’re peeing even more than you were during pregnancy. Your little one has moved more into your pelvis, and this will cause you to feel more pressure on your bladder.
- Cervix Dilation
This is something your doctor will notice. You will visit your doctor for checkups every week in the last few weeks of pregnancy. During these checkups, your doctor will check your cervix for dilation. It’s ok if it isn’t dilated at this point. Everyone is different. I didn’t dilate with either of mine before going into labor. And since the first one was so difficult and resulted in an emergency c-section, I planned the second c-section so I wouldn’t have to go through that again.
- Achy, Breaky Cramps, and Back Pain
First-time mamas get nasty cramps and back aches as they get closer to labor. I know it’s a struggle, but just try to find some way to be comfortable and rest up. You’re going to need it!
- Loose Joints
As your body gets closer to labor, the hormone relaxin really causes things to loosen up even more. You may feel like your body is more opened up, less tight, and much more relaxed.
- Sudden Diarrhea
With all this relaxing relaxin, that will impact your rectum too. And that’s precisely why you’ve shoved your husband out of the way as you sprint to the bathroom with diarrhea. Keep in mind that diarrhea is very dehydrating so guzzle down more water when this happens.
- You Stop Gaining Weight
When your doctor has you step on the scale, and you haven’t gained any more weight, or you’ve even dropped a couple of pounds, you are getting close. It’s no concern at this point in pregnancy, so don’t worry unless your doctor worries.
- Going Crazy with Nesting
You’ll feel fatigued one minute, and then you’ll scrub the floors by hand the next. Go with your moods…if you feel tired, get some rest. And if you have a burst of energy, enjoy cleaning and organizing, as long as you’re doing so safely!
Once you do finally go into labor for the first time, it’s such a surreal experience. But the result is that you get to meet your baby, and it really is all worth it!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.