5 Emotional Signs That Labor is Approaching and You might Need to Deal with Them!

Any woman who has endured the final days leading up to labor can attest to the fact that by that point, we are taking any symptom we have as a sign that birth is approaching. We find ourselves constantly doing head-to-toe physical checks, analyzing whether or not we have changed – while also doing mental health checks, scanning our intuitions for any clues. The symptoms hours before labor vary vastly from woman to woman.

As a mom of two, I had vastly different emotional experiences with each of my children. I firmly believe that how I prepared for each of my births impacted the emotional signs that labor was approaching.

I began seriously anticipating her birth around 32 weeks for my daughter, my firstborn. I very quickly found myself in what felt like agony, waiting anxiously for another day to pass so that I could be closer to giving birth.

It’s not that I was excited for the experience of birthing or even for my entrance into motherhood, per se. I was excited to be DONE with pregnancy. I didn’t care what struggles lay ahead. I felt more than desperate to be done with THIS struggle.

As labor neared, I found myself feeling anxious about giving birth. I had spent so much time wishing pregnancy away that I hadn’t prepared for labor itself… nor had I truly appreciated the “calm before the storm” of a newborn. I felt very high-strung and uncomfortable.

Of course, my daughter arrived in her own time (4 days early, thank goodness!), and I found myself regretting the anxiousness and hoping never to feel that way again.

Fast forward a few years, and I was again pregnant- this time with my son. This pregnancy was different from the start- I vowed to embrace every day, in all of its length and glory. I didn’t want to skip over pregnancy this time- I wanted to absorb the experience as much as possible while also enjoying my last few months as the mother of an only child.

signs of labor

I felt calm, relaxed, and in no rush as labor approached. The day before I went into labor, I remember saying aloud that “I wouldn’t mind if he went overdue”!

Just like his sister, he arrived 4 days early. The emotional signs that labor was approaching were feelings of peace, calmness, and confidence that my baby would come when he was ready.

If you have given birth before, reflect on your experience. What sentimental signs indicated to you that you were approaching labor?

Every woman is different, and so is every pregnancy. However, some common factors truly unite us all! One of those things is the emotional signs we experience that let us know our time is near.

Here are 5 signs that labor is approaching:

You feel overwhelmed with anticipation

This is completely normal- especially for first-time moms. Birth is not just the process of meeting your baby… it’s an experience that can change your life forever!

In the final days of pregnancy, the idea of going into labor is all-consuming. It can be overwhelming and exhausting to wake up wondering if “today is the day”, or to go to sleep wondering if “tonight is the night”, time and time again.

If you felt overwhelmed with anticipation just before labor, know that you are not alone!

You feel emotional distress about the upcoming change

There are few bigger changes in the world than that of welcoming new life! It is a beautiful and exciting time.

As true as that is, it can be stressful. If you have other children, perhaps you have anxiety about how your other children will react to the new baby. If this is your first, perhaps you are stressed and mourning the loss of your free, independent time.

Whatever the case may be, feeling distressed about the upcoming change is exhausting. While common and normal, it is certainly not an easy emotion to manage.

You enjoy moments of peace and tranquility

Of course, peace is the ideal emotion to feel as labor begins. This is what I experienced with my second child. When you are prepared to meet your new addition and prepared for the journey of awaiting their arrival, it allows you to relax and focus on other things.

Some mothers describe the days before labor as pleasant and even tranquil. They allowed themselves to daydream about what the next few weeks would hold without worry or pressure. While this is not necessarily common, it is possible by setting goals to do so early in pregnancy.

Frantic feelings occur

Pregnant woman sitting on a couch in the living room

Pregnancy is 10 months long, which means that from the time you find out you are pregnant until the time you will probably give birth is often long enough to prepare. However, some mothers find themselves procrastinating the process of getting ready, which results in feelings of franticness in the days leading up to birth.

Introducing a child to the world is a huge change, and it is something that takes significant time and effort to prepare for. You can prevent feelings of franticness by preparing as early as possible so that the days leading up to labor can be restful.

You find yourself nesting!

Nesting is instinctual! If you are feeling a huge desire to reorganize your living room, re-fold all of your baby’s already-prepped clothing, or completely declutter your garage, your maternal instincts are kicking in! This is your mind’s way of helping you to ensure everything is ready for your little one to arrive.

As mentioned earlier, a large part of how you emotionally signal oncoming labor is how you prepare. No one wants to feel overwhelmed, distressed, or frantic!

Here are a few ways to encourage relaxed emotions in the days leading up to labor:

  • Set realistic expectations: Many doctors suggest that “due dates” should be changed to “due months”. This would help ease the pressure of giving birth on a specific date instead of giving a general idea. Set realistic expectations for yourself by forgetting the exact due date and embracing the fact that giving birth anytime from 37 to 41 weeks is completely normal!
  • Fill your tim: The days leading up to birth will be especially tedious if you are just sitting around waiting for your first contractions. Plan fun, pregnancy-friendly activities to help to pass the time. Here are some examples:
  1. Schedule a manicure or pedicure
  2. Plan to meet up with an old friend
  3. Go to your favorite dine-in restaurant (enjoy doing so without a newborn!)
  4. Attend a prenatal yoga class
  5. Paint an artistic piece for your baby’s nursery

There is no loss if you happen to give birth early and miss out on these activities! But if you don’t, it will help the time pass.

  • Prepare for labor and postpartum early in your pregnancy: If you plan on doing a labor course, complete it early on. Try to prepare the nursery early. Make a conscious effort to complete any potentially stressful tasks so that you can spend the final days relaxing and saving energy for your labor.

Trying to decipher if your experience is “normal” is nearly impossible since every woman has such a unique experience. Some women feel extremely emotional as they approach to labor, while others do not. Some women feel a strong sense of intuition that they will enter labor soon, while others do not. The emotional signs that a woman is going into labor are incompatible from one woman to another.

From one mother to another, know that it is entirely normal to anticipate labor nervously. Your experience will be unique to you, so your body may emotionally signal that labor is oncoming in a completely different way!

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