How To Know If You Are Going Into Labor – What are the symptoms of labor between 24-48 hours? How do you feel before labor starts? How do you feel 24 hours before delivery? What are the symptoms of labor?
It’s not always obvious, though there are some signs you can trust more than others.
How To Know If You Are Going Into Labor
In the days and hours leading up to my three labors and delivery, each one was accompanied by a few important signs. There were big changes too!
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My first and second pregnancies started with my water breaking, so I knew it was time. Before that, I had a bloody show and I could tell labor was going on.
My third baby started with very strong contractions and no other signs. Every pregnancy and labor can be very different!
I just had my 4th baby so those features are fresh in my mind 🙂 I had energy 3 days ago. Like, a lot of energy. Two days ago, I was tired and had Braxton Hicks which felt a little stronger and more painful than usual. The day before, I woke up at 4am with strong and regular contractions that eventually stopped. The day I went into labor, I woke up again at 4am and was about 8 minutes apart and quite strong. I had a bloody show around 8am and knew the baby was coming. By 11 am the contractions were 5 minutes apart and I went to the hospital. My baby was born at 3pm that afternoon!
The mucus plug is something your baby produces from the moment of conception to protect it from harmful germs and bacteria. It’s basically a plug made of mucus at the end of your cervix, I know.
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You might be missing it, but you might not. Some women have seen it flushed down the toilet, some have wiped it off after urinating, and some have felt it on their underwear.
My first child, I never saw a mucus plug. With my second baby, I distinctly remember losing my mucus plug before my water broke at 2pm.
With my third, I lost my mucus plug at 35 weeks and was convinced I was going to have a baby very soon.
After much research, I found out that you can, in fact, lose your mucus plug more than once. If it comes out quickly your body will reproduce it!
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If you lose your mucus plug, it means your cervix is starting to dilate. However, this means labor is as long as hours or as long as 1-2 weeks.
Mucous plugs are transparent and contain little blood, and bloody stools are covered in mucus with red or brown blood.
If you have a bloody discharge, it means you’ve lost your mucus plug and your cervix is getting ready for labor!
This happened with the birth of my fourth child. I had a bloody show at 8am and knew the baby was coming – he was born at 3pm that day.
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Don’t worry too much, this is not weight loss. The water you shed in the days leading up to your delivery can weigh anywhere from 1-3 pounds.
Before delivery you may notice an increase in clear, pink or slightly bloody vaginal discharge. You may experience thickening or changes in the color of your vaginal discharge a month before delivery.
Excessive fatigue before delivery is a good sign of what is to come. On the other hand – you can gain strength and start nesting!
The last few days before you go into active labor can be confusing. Either your body will try to conserve energy for exertion or you will have a last minute nest!
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When I was pregnant with my first child, at 37 weeks I had a sudden burst of energy. I packed my hospital bag, cleaned the house, and then at 6 the next morning my water broke.
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This is because your muscles get an extra dose of relaxation before birth. That means all your muscles get it, including your rectal muscles.
But, this is a good thing because it helps your body get rid of all the unwanted stuff before giving birth!
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It may still happen – just to warn you. It’s hard not to worry about it, but try not to.
All the nurses helping you have seen it before, and they are totally professional and will remove it before anyone sees it!
If you start to feel pain and cramping in the lower back, it could be a sign that labor has started or is approaching. This is because your muscles and joints change after birth.
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By this time you will probably see your doctor. They will always check to see if you are divorced. If you are more than 3 cm dilated, it means you are going into labor soon.
However, to give you some hope, if you’re not divorced yet, here’s what happened to my third child:
I saw my doctor around 9am on my baby’s original due date and she examined me. I shouldn’t hold my breath about the baby coming soon because I’m not even 1 cm,” she laughed.
So I gave up thinking it would take a week or two. I went into labor at 2:30 that day and delivered my baby at 6:16. You never know.
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I was surprised to learn that only 15% of women break their water before labor starts. If it does, that means you’re going into labor, yes!
My water broke with 2 out of 3 babies before labor started. My daughter, a few hours ago and my son about 20 minutes. With my 3, my water broke in active labor.
Nausea can sometimes precede labor, but usually occurs in the earlier stages of labor. I definitely felt nauseous from the contractions.
What are the first symptoms of early labor? Sometimes there are early and more subtle signs before labor begins:
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I know you want a definitive answer about what will happen before you go into labor—the truth is, there is no definitive answer. You may have 1, 2 or all of the above symptoms.
Or, you have nothing. In fact, I had no clue that my third child would arrive on the day that he did. Not a single clue, symptom or anything.
With my son, I lost my mucus plug in the afternoon about 8 hours before my water broke.
), you were probably born between midnight and 6 a.m. and probably on a weekday rather than a weekend.
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If you have an induced labor, birth is likely to occur between midnight on Tuesday and Saturday.
As a general rule, you should go to the hospital when your contractions last 45-60 seconds at 4 minute intervals and should stay that way for an hour. However, if this is not your first child, things can move quickly.
With my first child, my water broke but I didn’t go into active labor so I went early. I gave in to the temptation because I was group B strep positive.
With my second baby, my water broke and my labor progressed very quickly—I was home for an hour from the first contraction to the time I got to the hospital.
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My water didn’t break with my third child. I was in active labor from the first contraction – I didn’t have an early stage of labor.
I left for the hospital about 15-20 minutes after my first contraction and I was so happy because my baby was born less than 4 hours later.
The actual contraction is first felt in the lower back, a kind of cramp-like pain. They wrap around the entire stomach and make everything hard.
False labor contractions start in the abdomen and stop if you change position or drink some water.
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India Ward’s story is interesting. She says, “It was a Monday night and at 10:30 pm I had some contractions. I had insomnia in pregnancy and figured I’d stay awake anyway and monitor these contractions to see what happens. Tuesday morning at 3:30 I woke up my husband and told him it was time to go to the hospital.
“With my first warning, my water broke and then I was 1 cm before I got to the hospital,” she adds. So I was very anxious to experience this, knowing that other labors are usually early.
The best thing you can do to prepare if you’re in silent labor is to know what true and false contractions feel like. It is helpful to give them time so that you can establish them
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