How do I know labor is starting?

Everyone goes through it, even your experienced birth professionals. You're getting close to term, or have passed forty weeks ... and you think you feel something. 

Is this it? Is this labor? Am I about to have my baby?

You're excited! Or nervous. How long will it be? 

Or, does my back just hurt? Should I not have had that 5-star-spicy Pad Thai? 

I think that you never really know you're in labor until it's in retrospect and you're holding a baby in your arms.

But, there are signs that labor is starting. Here's a helpful little guide I share with my clients. 

I feel: 

·       backache

·       cramps

·       Braxton Hicks (tightening contractions that do not get longer, stronger or closer together)

·       lightening (increased pelvic pressure, increased need to urinate)

·       nesting urge

This means that your body is preparing for labor. But, don’t get too excited. Labor may still be weeks away.

I'm experiencing: 

·       bloody show or mucous plug

·       loose stools

·       non-progressing or prodromal contractions (they don’t get longer, stronger, and/or closer together, or may last for hours then stop)

Your body is preparing for labor. Still, don’t get too excited. These are signs that labor may be starting soon … or that it could still be a week away. However, do give your doula a heads up if you’re experiencing any of these.

Hey! I'm experiencing these: 

·       water breaks

·       progressing contractions (they get longer, stronger and/or closer together)

Congratulations! You’re in labor! It's time to call your doula!

 

What were the very first signs you were in labor?