Did you know that only about 5% of pregnant women give birth on their due date? Most mothers-to-be give birth after their baby's estimated birthday has come and gone, while a smaller percentage welcome their sweet babies early. Like it or not, newborns come on their own unique schedule, and you should prepare to go with the flow when you're close to popping.
Even so, brushing up on the first signs of going into labor can help reduce anxiety and help you recognize when it's time to jump into action. Some signals (like contractions) might be obvious, while others are more mysterious. Will you know when it's time to start pushing?
We've created this guide to explain some of the most common clues that your precious little one is on their way. This list of ten signs you're going into labor also includes early labor signs. We'll give you the background you need to choose the right moment to contact your doctor.
Read on to find out when to roll out the welcome mat for those tiny, sweet baby feet!
1. Your Baby Has Dropped
The first sign of going into labor can happen as early as a month before your baby arrives. Your baby will "drop" or take up residence in your pelvis. In other words, they're planning to head out, so they want to be first in line near the door!
In first-time parents, this phenomenon tends to happen two to four weeks before birth. The second time around, your baby won't be in a rush to drop. If your second baby drops long before your anticipated due date, you could be going into labor early.
You'll know your baby has dropped when you begin waddling. You'll notice there's less pressure on your lungs. Beware, however—your baby may be leaning on your bladder, which can cause frequent urination.
2. Your Back Hurts
Your muscles need to prepare for the task they have ahead of them. You might experience some cramping in your back or groin. Cramping and discomfort are normal and can last for several weeks before you welcome your baby.
3. Your Joints Feel Strange
Most of the time, you don't need to think about your pelvis. When you're about to give birth to an entire human being, that butterfly-shaped bone demands attention. It must become loose and pliable enough to release your beautiful baby during labor.
As you approach your due date, you'll notice joints throughout your body loosening up. This process begins near the beginning of your pregnancy when the hormone relax in begins infiltrating your bloodstream. The closer you get to giving birth, the looser your joints become.
A strange side effect of this pre-labor sign is clumsiness. If you suddenly develop a case of butterfingers, you'll know why.
4. You Can't Stop Cleaning
Are you suddenly filled with a bottomless pit of boundless energy and the desire to paint the nursery for the fourth time? It's called your nesting instinct. It's your brain's way of encouraging you to get things ready for your new arrival.
You might wake up in the middle of the night eager to scrub the floorboards or get a second wind in the middle of the afternoon and attempt to assemble your shower gifts. Don't waste this extra energy—you'll need it when your little one arrives! It's a great time to set up those video baby monitors!
5. You Feel Your Cervix Opening
Every expectant mother is different. For some women, the thinning of the cervix is a sign that their baby will be arriving in the next few days. Your doctor will monitor changes in your cervix in the days and weeks leading up to your labor.
6. You're Exhausted
All newborn parents have one thing in common: exhaustion. If you're feeling extra tired before your baby has made its appearance, it means your little one is nearly here.
Your inability to get comfortable and sleep through the night is the likely cause for your new exhaustion. Frequent urination doesn't help, either! Rest when you can because the big day is approaching.
7. You've Noticed GI Issues
We mentioned your muscles begin relaxing as your baby gets ready for birth. That includes the muscles in your rectum and GI system. You might experience diarrhea leading up to your baby's birthday, but it's normal and expected.
8. You're Experiencing Contractions
You might experience Braxton Hicks contractions during pre-labor. Consider them "practice contractions." You'll know you've transitioned to real contractions when they happen at even intervals, feel strong, and last between 30 seconds and a minute.
Real contractions continue to grow stronger as the time to push approaches. If you suspect you're experiencing pregnancy contractions, it's time to contact your doctor.
9. You've Lost Your Mucus Plug
Your uterus stays clean and sanitary due to a mucus plug that keeps germs out. It also keeps the baby inside. It might fall out when you don't need it anymore, which is a clear sign that you'll meet your baby soon.
10. Your Water Has Broken
While your water might break, it's usually one of the last signs that labor has begun. You might notice a gush or trickle of liquid before the big event. It's rarely as dramatic as it looks in the movies and only happens to about 10-15% of pregnant women, so if you're experiencing other signs of labor, don't wait!
The Exciting Signs of Going Into Labor
You're beyond ready to meet your sweet baby, but that doesn't mean you aren't also a little nervous. When you brush up on the early signs of going into labor, you can focus on joy instead of fear. If you have concerns, contact your doctor or midwife and follow their advice.
Once that precious baby arrives, you won't want to take your eyes off their perfect face! With the pixsee smart video baby monitor, you won't have to. Visit our online store to learn why pixsee is the ideal companion for your parenting and new baby's exciting growth journey.