Pregnancy can be an amazing and exciting time. It can be a great experience to feel the baby growing inside of you and anticipating the arrival of the newest member of your family. As you near delivery, you might be wondering how you will know you are in labor. There are so many aches and pains towards the end of pregnancy that it may be hard to know the signs that the baby is coming. Here are some things you should look for.
1. Loss Of Mucus Plug
Inside the cervix is a plug that is there throughout pregnancy. This is called the mucus plug and it keeps the cervix tight throughout the nine months. As you get closer to delivery and the cervix begins to ripen and become more flexible, this plug will fall out. It usually has a yellow, brown or light green color. It may come out all at once or it could be in pieces. When this plug falls out, you know that delivery is coming soon. For some women, it may be hours; for others, it could still be a week. However, it is a good sign that delivery is close.
2. Pains That Feel Like Menstrual Cramps
Contractions can be a mystery for many women. You may be feeling pain in your stomach and wonder if the pain is a contraction or mere discomfort. For most women, contractions feel similar to menstrual cramps. They are low in the stomach and sometimes in the back.
The contractions will not be a dull pain; instead the pain will come in waves. You might feel a mild pain, followed by a sharp pain, mild again, then nothing. You will then have a couple minutes where you will feel totally normal. This is what contractions feel like.
If the contractions are coming close together and you are unable to talk through them, you need to go to the hospital. If they are sporadic and not very hard, then you are probably in the early stages of labor but don't need to go to the hospital yet.
3. Leaking Amniotic Fluid
Lastly, you should be on the lookout for any fluid leaking. It could be a burst of fluid, this is when your water breaks, or it could be dripping. If your water breaks, you need to get to the hospital right away, since the baby needs to be delivered soon.
These are just some of the signs that you are in labor. For more information, whether you are currently pregnant or just planning to be, contact an obstetrician.