The Funny Feeling in Your Belly: 5 Major Labor Contraction Signs to Take Note Of
Many first-time expectant mothers wonder how labor will feel, how long it will last, and whether or not it’s a false alarm or the real thing. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know the answers to these questions because no two births are the same. However, if you notice and pay close attention to these five significant signs that labor is near, you should be able to know when it’s time to leave for the hospital.
You Notice an Increase in Back Pain
You may start to feel an increase in pain and cramping in your lower back and groin. Real contractions, according to the experts at Parents magazine, feel a lot like menstrual cramps and get progressively worse. While it may not be painful, your entire stomach will become tense and feel hard. As you get closer to birth, all your muscles and joints start to stretch and shift in preparation for the upcoming birth.
Your Joints Feel Looser
Throughout the length of your pregnancy, your ligaments loosen a little as a result of the hormone relaxin being released into your body. Before you go into labor, you may start to notice that your joints feel less tight and more relaxed. The loosening of your joints is just your body’s way of opening up your pelvis to get ready to give birth.
You Have Diarrhea
As you get closer to your due date, the muscles in your uterus and the rest of your body start to relax, including the muscle in your rectum. This relaxing can result in diarrhea. While it is perfectly normal to experience diarrhea throughout your pregnancy, it is one of the more annoying signs that labor is upon you. It is essential that you drink water so that you don’t become dehydrated, advises the experts at Owlet, the makers of the first in-home infant pulse oximeter.
Your Cervix Dilates
In the days and weeks, before you go into active labor, your cervix will start to open up and thin out to prepare for birth. During your weekly checkups, your provider will measure and track your dilation and effacement. If you are dilating slow or haven’t dilated yet, don’t be discouraged, everyone progress through their pregnancy differently.
Contractions can be an extremely tricky sign of labor because of the presence of Braxton Hicks contractions, which are essentially false contractions. Many women will experience Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks, or even months, during their pregnancy, but they aren’t signs of labor. Real contractions will increase in frequency and will become progressively stronger. You can track your contractions yourself, or use Bloomlife to time your contractions and be sure you aren’t experiencing false labor.
If you think that you are going into labor, give your practitioner a call and let them know what is going on. They will advise you on when you should head to the hospital. Don’t worry about calling them outside of office hours; they knew this would happen when they entered this field of medicine.