Many moms-to-be eagerly anticipate the onset of labor not because they look forward to the requisite discomfort and work that the process entails, but instead because they can’t wait to cast their eyes on their new bundle of joy. As women approach their promised due date, they commonly become eager for any signs of the commencement of labor. While no sign is as clear an indication of the start of labor as the development of contractions, certain signs indicate that labor and, by connection, birth, are but a few days away.
Bye, Bye Mucus Plug
As gross as it sounds, the mucus plug plays an important role in sustaining a healthy pregnancy. During pregnancy, a plug of mucus blocks the opening to the cervix and prevents bacteria from entering, reports the Mayo Clinic. Many moms lose this protective plug several days before labor starts. When this happens, it is typically bloody. Moms who experience the loss of their mucus plug may notice a mucus discharge that is slightly brown or even a little bloody.
Many women spend the bulk of their pregnancy struggling for the energy to make it through the day. Often, immediately before labor, women get a burst of energy that is unlike anything they have felt through the rest of the their pregnancy, reports the American Pregnancy website. During this energy burst, which is called nesting, moms commonly have the desire to get everything ready for the new baby. While no one knows for sure what causes this odd experience, for many women it means that labor is but days away.
Ouch, My Back
Carrying a growing baby causes back pain in many women throughout their pregnancy, but these pains often increase in intensity in the days immediately prior to labor. In the days leading up to active labor, moms commonly experience small and even unnoticeable contractions. These contractions begin the dilation process and help prepare the cervix for the birth of the child. While necessary, these contractions often lead to even more back pain for the mom-to-be.
Braxton Hicks, or false labor pains, are a common occurrence for many moms. These contractions, unlike real contractions, are usually not painful and are sporadic in timing and intensity. While experiencing an isolated Braxton Hicks contraction is perfectly normal and does not necessarily mean you are going to go into labor, these contractions commonly increase in prevalence and intensity in the days leading up to labor, reports the Mayo Clinic.
I Can Breathe
The American Pregnancy website reports that many moms experience a sensation called “lightening,” in the days leading up to labor. Many women find themselves short of breath throughout pregnancy because the growing baby puts pressure on the mother’s diaphragm. As the baby drops down into the pelvis and prepares for arrival, much of this pressure is released, and moms commonly feel as if they can finally take a dream breath again. While the increased ability to breath is certainly a plus, the baby sitting lower does mean that the mom might have to make even more trips to the bathroom throughout the day.