When you are able to recognize the most prominent signs of labor, although you may feel somewhat nervous, you can also be excited. Early signs of labor let you know the time is near. Although you may not recognize every sign of labor, some cannot be missed. Perhaps you will be aware of only a couple of the ones mentioned here, or perhaps all of these signals will be recognized, but as you pay close attention to the changes that are taking place you will know that long awaited stage of labor is near or in progress.
One of the first signs of labor you might notice is the release of the mucus plug. The mucus plug is a thick blob of mucous, with the purpose of helping to provide protection to your baby by keeping the cervix protected. It does this by blocking the entryway to the uterus. When the cervix is changing and dilating, a showing of the mucus plug may be apparent. The amount seen may depend on how quickly the occurrence is happening. This may be noticed as increased discharge or perhaps the entire plug will be released during a bathroom session. Although labor could be within hours, it is possible to lose the plug weeks ahead of labor.
Blood is seen as pink, brown or barely red mucus that you may become aware of in the process of using the bathroom. Similarly, this may be noticed on a panty liner or on the lining of panties. This notification can be taken as a sure sign that changes are happening within your cervix. Some of these changes include dilation, thinning, and other preparations for labor.
Looser stools may be apparent as the prostaglandins are released. Prostaglandins are hormones that the uterus produces for softening the cervix to prepare for a vaginal delivery. These hormones may also create soft stool and perhaps diarrhea. Once you reach this stage, labor is within perhaps just hours, or often within a day.
Contractions aid the cervix in dilation, causing it to be opened for your baby to be able to pass through the birth canal. Although a lot of women have contractions throughout pregnancy, the difference is that true labor contractions are of increased intensity compared with pre-labor contractions. They will also become increasingly closer together over time instead of ceasing.
Another sign that the onset of labor is near is that your back may be aching off and on. This is generally the contractions being felt in your back. If the aching in your back advances to becoming constant or if you notice other changes, you may be having back labor, which is most commonly caused because of the specific positioning of your baby.
Recognizing signs of labor will allow you to know how to prepare for your coming baby and when to know the long awaited time is near. Though these signals generally mean labor is near, not all pregnancies are the same and your pregnancy is unique to you. However, with patience and awareness, you can be aware of the indications of true onset of labor.