Could I be in Early labor?
Updated: Apr 17
If you are getting closer to that big day of when you finally meet the tiny human that has been growing for over 8 months (and you must be so tired of being pregnant) - you will want to know what signs of early labor to look for.
Whenever you think of going into labor, you think of water gushing out and contractions that are just a few minutes apart happening. That is accurate, for active labor. That is when you are very close to the time of delivering your bundle of joy! However, that is not how it starts. Early labor is subtle, but there are signs that it is happening!
If you are getting closer to that big day of when you finally meet the tiny human that has been growing for over 8 months (and you must be so tired of being pregnant) - you will want to know what signs of early labor to look for. Let's go over those right now.
1. Your Lower Back Hurts
Back pain is common during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. However, when you are in early labor, the pain is somewhat different. The pain you are going to be experiencing is cramping. That is due to the fact that your joints, as well as muscles, are shifting and stretching around. It is all getting ready for the delivery of your baby.
2. Your Joints Feel Extra Relaxed
During pregnancy, one of the many hormones that you have is relaxin. This hormone literally makes the ligaments in your body looser as they relax. Right before going into labor, you will notice that your joints are loose. This must happen so your pelvis can open up easier for your little one to make his or her way through into the world.
3. You Run Off To The Bathroom Because You Have The Runs
One of the other signs that everything in your body is loosening up as it prepares for the big arrival is diarrhea. Therefore, yes, your muscles in your rectum are also loose which is why you are having the runs. In fact, this is nothing to worry about. Diarrhea is completely normal in early labor. Just be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
4. You Shed Some Pounds
If you notice some slight weight loss towards the end of your pregnancy, don't worry. This is a sign that your baby is ready to come. The loss in weight is due to the levels of amniotic fluid dropping. You may also not lose weight but the weight gain does stop at this point for this reason.
5. You Are Unusually Energized And Have The Need To Nest
The first and third trimesters are the most exhausting times during your pregnancy. However, right at the very end, you could end up with an energetic surge. You may have the urge to organize the nursery or have the urge to take a long walk. Where did this energy come from? This is natural as it can happen right before you go into active labor. Sometimes, however, the opposite happens and you are just as tired as you have been during most of the pregnancy.
6. The Mucus Plug Is Coming Out
You may see bits and pieces of the mucus plug coming out which is the sealant in your cervix which has been protecting your uterus and baby from any foreign invaders (which is why unless you have had complications and have been advised not to do it, sex is safe during pregnancy). However, bits and pieces of this plug can start coming out during the early part of labor. It is referred to as a bloody show. It is blood-tinged music that you may see on your underwear.
Sometimes it does not come out at all until you are in active labor, and sometimes it comes out early on all at once. You know that the real thing is about to happen - which is active labor.
if you have any of these symptoms during the end of your pregnancy, you know that your baby is on the way. You will also get contractions but they will not be regular during early labor. Therefore, you may just think of them as stronger Braxton-Hicks. But if you have been feeling 'out of sorts' and all of a sudden your contractions become regular, or your water breaks - that is when it is time to head right to the labor and delivery area of your hospital. Good luck! How exciting.