It is exciting to think about the baby arriving soon. What are actually the tried and true signs that labor is starting?
- Your water breaks! You might think that it is due to incontinence, but you can easily check by smelling the fluid. It should have a strong astringent odor. Make sure to observe the fluid and to see what color it is. If it is clear, then you can wait for another sign of labor. If it is green or brown it usually means that there is meconium present; the baby’s first bowl movement happened in utero. This would mean that you need to call your doctor or midwife and begin packing your hospital bag or be prepared to have your midwife come over to check on you and the baby.
- You passed your mucus plug/membranes released. In some cases this happens early on in labor or even before labor starts. It has a thick jelly consistency and could be either clear, brown, or red. You can simply wait for another sign of labor to start!
- You begin to feel consistent waves/contractions that last anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute in length. Many people use a contraction app in order to keep track of how frequently contractions are coming. This is very helpful as your care provider might ask you the frequency and duration of your contractions.
- You feel a sudden surge of energy! Towards the end of pregnancy, and right before labor begins, many people report feeling a noticeable increase in energy. They suddenly feel like doing a little bit more exercise, or putting together the finishing touches on the nursery.
- You have a desire to nest. Sometimes pregnant people report feeling the need to make their home environment safe and comfortable. This could mean setting up the nursery for the baby, putting together your hospital bag, or installing a car seat. Essentially, you might feel this strong, innate desire to get everything ready for the baby and to stay close to home.