The first signs of labor vary from woman to woman. However, three things can indicate that labor has started or is about to start.
1) a show appears
The show is the bloodstained mucous discharge that is expelled when the cervix is opening. Sometimes called the plug or cork. Although the show is a good sign that things are progressing, it can appear up to two to three weeks before contractions and actual labor begin.
2) the water breaks
When the membranes surrounding the baby are being pressed down in front of the head, pressure builds up and the bag bursts. This can happen in a sudden rush of fluid or with a slow trickle. You may not even be aware that this has happened. Some women describe the feeling as being like wetting your pants. Should you be unsure, contact your physician. In many cases, contractions progress more rapidly and with greater intensity within hours of the water breaking. In any case, your physician will likely request that you go to the hospital.
3) contractions begin
Contractions are often described as a tightening around the middle of the tummy coming up over the top of the bump and pulling down toward the lower part of the small of your back. This can last for 15-20 seconds and then releases. This sensation occurs again after ten minutes and sometimes sooner. These might be false labor or Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions can be alleviated by drinking more water and resting. Should you be close to your due date, and rest does not alleviate the contractions or they should become more intense and closer together, you may be in real labor. To time your contractions, make note over a 30 minute to one hour period. Write down the time between the start of one and the start of the next; also the length of each contraction. The contractions will be coming closer together and will last 40 seconds or longer if labor has started. Unless your physician has instructed you otherwise, go to the hospital when contractions come more often than every 5 minutes.
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Signs of Labor-When it's "time"