As you near your due date, you’re likely wondering, “how will I know when my baby is coming?” The following are four signs indicating that labor may start within a few hours or days:
1. Your water breaks.
Your baby grows within an amniotic sac which protects the baby from injury, helps regulate his or her temperature, and is part of the growth process. When your body determines its time for delivery, the amniotic sac may puncture, and the fluid will leak. It’s important to know that this does not always happen naturally and sometimes will be punctured by your doctor.
2. Your mucus plug separates from the opening of your cervix.
When you become pregnant, your body creates a mucus plug in front of the opening of your cervix. It serves to seal the cervix to stop any bacteria from entering the cervix and traveling to the uterus. When it’s time to deliver the baby, your cervix will begin to widen, and your mucus plug will fall out. Some women may notice it after they urinate or in their underwear.
3. You experience real contractions instead of Braxton Hicks.
A few weeks before your delivery, your body will begin to “practice” labor by tightening its muscles. These are considered to be false labor contractions, also known as Braxton Hicks, and can be likened to menstrual cramps. How can you tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions?
- Braxton Hicks will taper off and not become more intense.
- Real contractions will become more painful and closer together.
- Braxton Hicks are random and irregular in timing.
- Real contractions won’t stop.
If you think you’re experiencing Braxton Hicks, lay down in a quiet room and drink plenty of water, as Braxton Hicks can start due to dehydration and overworking yourself physically.
4.You have pain in your lower back.
Aches and pains are to be expected during pregnancy as your body grows and adjusts to the new baby inside of you. But when you’re about to enter labor, you may feel lower back pain that becomes more uncomfortable and radiates to your pelvic area.