How do I know labor is coming?
Starting in the third trimester of gestation, we will begin to notice the so-called Braxton Hicks contractions. These are strange sensations: you will notice that your belly becomes tense and hard. They are not painful, intense or regular contractions.
At first, we will notice them in an isolated and punctual way; we may mistake them for movements of the baby. But at the end of pregnancy, they will become more frequent and uncomfortable, and sometimes we can even confuse them with the beginning of labor.
7 signs and signals of labor
You expel all or part of the mucus plug.
During the first moments of pregnancy, the cervix closes torsionally, lengthens and a very thick mucus forms inside the uterus. The purpose of these changes is to defend the inside of the uterus from any germs. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the cervix softens and becomes shorter, letting the “defensive” mucus that had formed fall out.
This phenomenon is known as expulsion of the mucus plug. We may lose it little by little, so that we will not notice it, or we may notice the expulsion of a significant amount of mucus. In any case, it is not a warning of impending labor. It may take some time before labor actually begins.
You notice severe pelvic discomfort.
During the last weeks of pregnancy, the baby descends on the mother’s abdomen and rests its head on her pelvis. This means that we notice more discomfort in that area, it may even be difficult to walk and we have a great feeling of pressure in the pubic area.
Fatigued by the weight of pregnancy
Our baby already weighs quite a lot and our body at the end of pregnancy is very overloaded and tired from all the weeks of gestation. We will be very tired and fatigued easily. Try not to exercise too intensely and rest as much as you need.
You notice the baby differently.
Our baby has gotten big and almost doesn’t fit in his “little house”. Although he moves, he does it differently. We no longer notice vigorous jumps and kicks, but slower and stronger movements, like stretching the baby inside our body. But remember: if you do not notice the baby moving, this is not a normal situation and you should always consult your doctor.
You suffer from the so-called nest syndrome.
It is the famous nest syndrome that we have heard about many times. At the end of the pregnancy, the mother-to-be needs to see everything around her clean and ready to receive her baby. So you may spend much of your time cleaning or preparing the baby’s room, tidying up your things or buying everything you consider essential.
You have strange pregnancy-related dreams.
Although, consciously, we do not think much about the moment of labor, our mind does have it very present. During sleep, all the fear we have of the unknown, how labor or how our baby will be, will be reflected in our dreams. We will have strange and somewhat disturbing dreams related to labor or the baby.
You sleep with difficulty.
At the end of pregnancy, we notice that it is increasingly difficult to rest properly. The baby is heavy and we do not find the right position: sometimes because we are not comfortable, sometimes because the baby is not comfortable. Depending on the position we adopt, the little one does not stop moving and kicking. In the weeks leading up to labor, we will notice this even more.
Save your energy for the day of labor.
All these symptoms intensify in the days leading up to labor. The contractions become more frequent and uncomfortable. We sleep little and have many strange dreams. We find ourselves more uncomfortable in every way. There is not much left. Our bodies are getting ready to give birth. Rest as much as you can, take quiet walks and avoid intense or strenuous work. You have to save your energy for the big moment!