Signs of very Early Labor in Pregnancy

Early labor, also known as the latent phase of labor, can be very confusing for expectant mothers.  Often, they are not sure if the symptoms that they are experiencing are signs that their labor has begun, or whether these symptoms are totally unrelated.  In addition to this, many women experience Braxton Hicks contractions, or practice contractions, in the lead up to the birth and these can be easily confused with the early stages of labor.  However, there are some signs that a lot of women experience that do indicate the early stages of labor.  Here is an overview of some of these signs.

Contractions

One of the easiest signs of early to recognize in early labor is contractions.  Initially people mistake these for the Braxton Hicks contractions that they may have been experiencing for a while.  The way to tell real contractions apart form these is by monitoring them over a period of time.  At first they may feel like period pains or mild cramps.  If they intensify and get closer together, this is usually a sign that you are in the early stages of labor.

Waters breaking

The first sign that a woman is in labor can also be their waters breaking.  This is when the baby’s head puts pressure on the amniotic sac that is lying below their had, causing them to rupture.  This can be a trickle or a gush.  Not all women’s waters break in early labor.  Some women find that their waters do not break until they are ready to push.

A ’show’

During pregnancy, your cervix is blocked by a mucus plug.  In the early stages of labor, this often comes away.  This is often blood stained.  However, in some women, they may not notice the show until much further into their labor, while others experience this several days before their actual labor begins when their cervix begins to soften in preparation for the birth. 

Backache

A common sign of early labor is backache.  This is often accompanied by the contractions.  The reason that women get backache at this stage is because the baby has moved down into the pelvis and is putting pressure on the lower back. 

Diarrhea

Some women experience diarrhea in the early stages of labor.  This can be caused by the sudden increase in hormones immediately before birth.  

Lightening

Immediately before labor begins, the baby’s head often drops into the pelvic space ready for birth.  This can make your bump feel lower and can make it suddenly easier to breathe.  It is called ‘lightening’.  However, some women do not notice this happening and in some cases, this doesn’t happen until much later in the process of labor.