The final weeks of pregnancy are exhausting. You’re looking for any signs of labor, and you’re exhausted. Sleeping during pregnancy can be just as hard as sleeping with a newborn. You’re ready to meet your baby, but you’re also ready not to be pregnant anymore.
Chances are you know all of the traditional signs of labor. You know that you will feel contractions or have extreme back pains. You know you might spend all day nesting and scrubbing the floors. What about the weird or uncommon signs of labor?
Let’s look at all the non-traditional signs of labor that might mean your baby is about to enter the world in the next few days!
Common Signs of Labor
These are the signs that most women know. Chances are your doctor will let you know to keep an eye on these, or your friends will tell you that these happened before they went into labor.
- Baby dropping or lightening
- Cervix dilating and effacing
- Increased back pain
- Vaginal Discharge changes
- Loss of your mucus plug
- More frequent Braxton Hicks
- Your water breaks
- Strong, frequent contractions
Can You Be in Labor and Not Know It?
In general, no. If you’re in real, active labor that involves intense and frequent contractions, and you’ll notice those. If you don’t have contractions but have extreme back pain, you could also be in labor.
However, you aren’t in labor if you aren’t experiencing back pain, contractions, or water breaking. You could be in early labor, or your body might be gearing up to go into labor without you knowing it. It can be easy to miss the early signs that labor is approaching in the next 24-48 hours.
12 Uncommon Signs of Labor
Just Feeling Off
Feeling weird or a little off is a real sign of labor! This feeling can be hard to describe, but you might feel weird or strange. Some women might feel impatient or anxious, while others have an unusual sense of peace and calmness. However you want to describe it, you just know that you don’t feel like yourself.
No matter how you describe your strange feelings, it’s typically because your body is experiencing a surge of hormones. Usually, it’s a sign that labor isn’t too far off.
Dreaming of Labor
Having dreams about labor can be a sign that you’re almost there. You might imagine that your water breaks. Some women say they dreamt about it and then woke up in labor!
Let’s be honest; no one likes diarrhea. It’s unpleasant, but it’s a common sign before going into labor. Your body knows you’re about to go into labor, so it enters a state of relaxation that lets your baby pass through the birth canal. That relaxation state also relaxes the muscles that control your bowel movements.
Some doctors believe that emptying of the bowels is a way that our body makes room for the baby. It’s not one of the fun signs, but it’s a step closer.
Feeling Like You Have the Flu
The last thing you want is to come down with the actual flu at the end of your pregnancy, but it could be a sign of labor. You might have body aches and feel sick. This is far from a happy sign of labor, but it rarely includes a fever.
I always say that sleeping during the end of pregnancy is harder than sleeping after you have a newborn. You spend all night tossing and turning, typically because you’re uncomfortable.
Another reason for your lack of sleep is insomnia caused by labor approaching.
Labor is a serious process, so you want to get plenty of sleep, but your body has other plans. No one knows why so many women have insomnia before labor, but extreme tiredness is a sign of labor.
Are you experiencing a series of emotional breakdowns? If so, you might have one of the unusual signs of approaching labor. Pregnancy comes with many emotions, and the surge of hormones you might experience at the end could cause a wave of emotions. It also might be a combination of frustration, excitement, and fatigue that causes you to feel overwhelmed and upset.
Many mothers report that they feel upset or extremely irritated beforehand. You might cry over little things or end up hysterical because of something someone says to you.
With my second child, I went into labor after being furious with my husband. I don’t remember why I was so angry, but I do know I had my first contraction as I chopped zucchini furiously for dinner.
One of the unusual signs of impending labor is moodiness or irritability with others. Feeling irritable is a common indication that your baby is on his way. If you feel like you’re suddenly on an emotional roller coaster, you might be able to go into labor.
The moodiness before labor is similar to how you feel during PMS. It could be feelings of joy and happiness, or you might get snippy and yell at loved ones for no reason. That’s just an expected yet unfortunate part of the ending of a pregnancy.
Sudden Weight Loss
You spent your entire pregnancy gaining weight, so it seems strange that suddenly, you might lose weight. It’s not abnormal to know that your weight gain might stop at the end of pregnancy or you might lose weight. It typically takes place a week before the start of labor.
If you do experience weight loss, it won’t be a ton. You can expect to lose around 1-4 pounds right before you go into labor. The reason why you have weight loss is because of hormonal changes.
The weight that you lose is typically water weight collected in body tissues. You expel this water through sweat and urine. That’s why some women experience more sweating than usual. Sweating can be a sign of impending labor!
Sudden Loss of Appetite
You know things are serious when the pregnant girl stops eating. You spent your first trimester gagging and puking at the thought of certain foods. Then, you binged and ate all your favorite foods during your second and most of your third trimester. Now, all of a sudden, you don’t want to eat.
Your lack of appetite at the beginning of your pregnancy might come back in the final weeks. You might even have a sour stomach. Try to eat crackers, bone broths, and light snacks.
Specific Food Cravings
Maybe you don’t have a loss of appetite. Instead, you have particular food cravings that are serious.
That bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy from KFC is the ONLY thing you can imagine eating right now. If you can’t get it (this happened to me once when KFC was closed because it was midnight), you spend the next hours dreaming about that meal.
Some women say this happens right before labor, especially if you didn’t have that craving throughout pregnancy. It also tends to be foods that you wouldn’t eat regularly.
Doctors have no idea why this happens, but it might be because your body consumes calorie-dense foods before starting labor. Don’t be worried about giving in to the cravings; eat what your body tells you so long as it doesn’t give you an upset stomach.
You burn a significant number of calories during childbirth. Read more here.
Your Pets Cling to You
When Fido starts to follow you around consistently (assuming he doesn’t all the time) or lays by you all the time, it might signal that things will get real here soon.
This is interesting:
Pets are intuitive and sensitive to changes that are happening with their owners. Dogs can detect changes in blood sugar, so it’s no wonder they can also sense when you’re about to go into labor.
Pet owners report that their animals seem unusually anxious and might follow you to the bathroom. Some even say that their dogs whine if they’re apart from you. If these are unusual for your pet, pay attention! Your pet senses that labor is impending, and it’s a great bonding time for you and your pet. Here learn how to introduce your newborn to the dog.
A Puffy Vagina
Your normal vagina shouldn’t be puffy, but when you enter the final stages of pregnancy and your body moves into the birthing position, it can cause your labia to swell. Since your baby is pressing into your vagina, it creates more pressure. Don’t be shocked to find your vagina swollen.
In fact, do yourself a favor and don’t take a peek! If you’re experiencing discomfort, try an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas.
Not all labor signs are normal. As you enter the days before you go into labor, you might notice non-traditional signs of labor. This doesn’t mean you’re in full-blown labor yet, but your body is preparing, so you should be looking for a start!
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.