eHealthPedia >

Symptoms of Labor

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Symptoms of Labor
Stages of Labor
Symptoms of Labor
Treating pain during labor

Some changes take place in the body as signs of labor in the weeks, hours and days before labor. You may or may not notice some of these signs before labor begins, as they can be subtle.  Don't hesitate to call your health care provider if you wonder whether you're in labor. And if you have any of the following signs of labor before 36 weeks - especially if they're accompanied by vaginal spotting - see your health care provider for an exam.

  • Discharge containing a thick plug of mucus
  • Discharge of watery fluid from your vagina
  • Energy spurts
  • Feeling as if the baby has settled deeper into the pelvis            
  • Increase of vaginal discharge (clear, pink or slightly bloody)      
  • Regular patterns of menstrual-like cramps
  • Regular patterns of bad back ache

False labor can occur just at the time when labor is expected to start.  Don't be upset or embarrassed if you react by thinking labor is beginning.  Sometimes the difference can only be determined by a vaginal exam-changes in your cervix signal the onset of true, active labor.  It's also good to monitor and identify contractions as Braxton-Hicks contraction or as contractions of a true labor. 

Here's the difference:

Braxton-Hicks contractions, or false labor pains, are irregular cramps that occur in the last several weeks before your due date.  During a Braxton-Hicks contraction your abdomen may get hard and then soft again, and might even become uncomfortable or painful.  But usually these types of false contractions are painless as your uterus contracts and relaxes in preparation for true labor.  Eventually, Braxton Hicks contractions will be replaced by the real thing.

The best way to know if you're experiencing true labor contractions is to time the length of the contractions.  Time how long each cramping period lasts and the length of time in between each contraction.  Keep a record for an hour.  During true labor ...

  • contractions last about 50-80 seconds 
  • contractions occur at regular intervals 
  • contractions don't go away when you move around
  • contractions pains are felt high in the abdomen, radiating throughout the abdomen and lower back instead of in the lower abdomen

Be on the lookout for more serious signs of a pregnancy complication and call your doctor or go to the hospital immediately if you experience: 

  • Blood from the vagina
  • Constant, severe pain -- don't wait for a whole hour to pass 
  • Membrane rupture (your "water breaks")
  • Reduced fetal movement

Once you reach the third trimester, you should talk to your doctor or midwife about labor and delivery. Learn your options for pain relief. Find out how to reach her if you go into labor. And ask her at what point in labor should you call. As you plan for the birth, these preparations can help assure that your delivery goes smoothly.  We'll cover pain management techniques in the delivery room in the next section.

<< 1 2 3 >>
Tags: symptoms, vaginal discharge, third trimester, Pain Management, contractions, health care, best way to, menstrual, Pregnancy, discharge, back ache, Due date, vaginal, abdomen, cervix, cramps, vagina, period, ache, symptoms of pregnancy
Related Topics
Vagina After Giving Birth
Nitchka  99917 views
Effaced?????????
ang4291  6979 views
First Stage of Labor
angel6932  1950 views
anxiety after giving birth ?
aries4pices  7000 views
Labor/induction
babyspots17  1570 views
Sex After Childbirth
guest95866  2028 views
Mucus Plug
amberbilly  2869 views
Epidural...
mama2bn05  3485 views
Back pain after childbirth
red86  1953 views
contractions and false labor ?
babyAndy  8430 views
Mucus Plug
angel6932  8466 views
contraction pain first trimester
lisa1978  16519 views
My Birth Story!!!
mayhi  2208 views
36weeks And 1cm Dilated, How Soon Is the Labor?
happiness and love  8630 views
Problems With Medtronic Pump ("no Delivery")
golfinlonghorn  6635 views
Mucus Plug
young Girl  3115 views