How to Spot the Signs of Labor

on May 19, 2013

by Maureen Stephens, BS, RN

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How to Spot the Signs of Labor

Knowing the signs of pregnancy will help you be prepared. You will be able to distinguish between false contractions and true contractions, and you will know when to call the doctor or midwife and to buckle down and get your space in order, hospital, home or otherwise.

Just like every pregnancy, labor differs from one woman to the other. While some signs are common, others are unique and vary among women. Real contractions are of course the sure shot indication that you are in labor. But contractions are not the only sign. You will experience numerous other signs that will help you understand that you are in labor and are not undergoing false labor. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

Breaking water

Remember that water breaking is not an indication that you are in labor. Some women don’t even feel their water breaking because it is not as dramatic as often portrayed on TV shows and in the movies. Many women’s water doesn’t break until well into the throes of labor. How do you find out whether you are in labor then?

Baby drops

Start breathing deeply when you feel a lot of pressure on your pelvis and lesser pressure on your diaphragm and ribs. Increased pelvic pressure shows that your baby has dropped and you are entering labor. This is actually the earliest sign of labor. It will occur a few weeks before birth.

Pressure on bladder

You will also feel more pressure on your bladder and that is why you will urinate frequently.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

These contractions can be called as practice contractions. These will occur before the actual contractions of course. Some women feel them painfully while others don’t. You shouldn’t get confused between the two contractions. There are some sure shot signs to help you distinguish. These include proximity, intensity, and duration. Braxton Hicks contractions don’t get longer and closer or stronger with each contraction.

Bloody Show

You will have a bloody mucus discharge when you enter labor. All the mucus that is trapped in the cervical canal will come out during labor or just before it. It is usually pink, red, or brown in color. When you experience this, know that you are going to slip into labor soon.

More Energy

This is called Nesting. You will feel suddenly energized. At the same time, your fatigue will increase. Ironic, maybe, but it happens near labor.


If there is any fluid leakage, smell it to check what it is. If it is urine, it is because your bladder was forced into urinating because of the extreme pressure. If it is odorless, it is of course not urine. It is amniotic fluid. If this happens, your water has broken. Your labor is in the offing. Rush to the hospital immediately.


Your contractions will start increasing in consistency, severity, and duration. Initially, they won’t last for more than thirty seconds but their duration will increase and you will feel even more pain. They can last for ninety seconds after sometime. Try stopping them by changing your sitting position or standing or doing something. If you can’t stop them, you are experiencing true contractions and your baby is coming!


Knowing the signs of labor will help you be prepared. You will be able to distinguish between false contractions and true contractions, and you will know when to call the doctor or midwive and to buckle down and get your space in order, hospital, home or otherwise. Beware, thus, and be prepared for your labor!

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How to Spot the Signs of Labor, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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  4. Natural Ways to Induce Labor
  5. Ways to Induce Overdue Labor

Ms. Stephens has spent over twenty years in the healthcare world, specializing in obstretical and medical/surgical nursing. She joined ConceiveEasy as she has a strong interest in educating and empowering women and promoting fertility awareness.

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