Your body actually starts to prepare for labour up to a month before you give birth. The very early stages of labour are hard to define, especially as your contractions are so mild. Leading up to your water breaking, you may start to feel a range of emotions, sensations and energy levels. You may not know it, but that urge to get up and organise your closet in the middle of the night, may actually be a sign that your little one is on his or her way.
Here are some of the most common early signs of labour from real women.
You feel off. That’s right, you might just feel differently. A lot of women report a feeling of heaviness or a general feeling of discomfort in the days leading up to giving birth. Some experience upset stomachs or a feeling of constipation.
Lower back pain can occur days before you go into labour. It could come as a dull pain over the course of a few days or a sharper pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night.
The passing of the mucus plug, aka The Show, indicates that your cervix is starting to open up. The thickened mucus that sealed your cervical canal may come out in a lump or over several days in vaginal discharge – in fact, it may go completely unnoticed. Losing your mucus plug, however, is a big sign that your moving closer to labour.
Irregular “stabby” contractions or menstrual-like cramps are another sign that your water is breaking soon. Some women said they experienced spotting or diarrhea as well.
Mood Swings. You could be feeling particularly irritable and strange. One woman said she felt on the verge of tears all day. Another described snapping at people, being extremely grumpy and easily upset.
A burst of energy. The feeling of being extremely energetic and even loose jointed. A burst of adrenaline and excitement is Mother Nature’s way of getting you pumped up for motherhood. You suddenly feel like taking up that big project you’ve been too tired to pick up for months, scrubbing the counters or the need to do a big food shop at 9pm.
Nesting Instinct might also explain your desperate urge to tidy the house. Suddenly you can’t help but notice that skirting board that needs to be painted. One woman described a sudden need to be very thorough and clean behind the fridge, another to iron her napkins (something she’d never thought of doing before).
Look to those around you. Is the cat or dog acting strange? Some people think animals can sense these changes. Maybe your dog is sticking extra close to you or your cat won’t stop meowing. Your partner might pick up on things you don’t notice either, a change in behaviour or attitude or something you’re not noticing.
Everyone is different and I would love to hear if you experienced any early signs of labour. Share in the comments below!