The 3 True Signs of Labor

true signs of labor

October 20, 2022

Signs of Labor

As you are approaching your due date you're likely looking for signs that labor is close. You might have found yourself inspecting your toilet paper each time you wipe? You might be pausing when you feel a tightening of your belly to figure out if you are experiencing a gas pain, the baby move, a Braxton hicks contraction or even possibly a really contraction.

There are a lot of signs of labor that can give us some hints that labor might be coming soon. These are signs that labor is approaching. You might experience all of these signs of labor, none of these signs or something in between. These signs might show up weeks before labor begins and could happen hours before labor starts. If you have given birth before, don’t expect to experience these pre-labor signs of labor the same way. Each pregnancy, labor and birth is different!

There is a wide variety of normal when it comes to signs of labor. Here is a list of signs that can present up to weeks before you are in labor.

  • Loss of the Mucus Plug
  • Baby Dropping Into Pelvis (also called Lightening)
  • Increased Vaginal Discharge
  • Nesting
  • Bloody Show (blood tinged mucus plug)

How You Can Be 100% Sure that You are In Labor

There are really only three signs that tell you that you are actually in labor. These three signs all have to do with contractions that are progressing. The first sign is when you are experiencing contractions that are getting longer.

You might not call them contractions yet, but if you are experience some type of tightening of your uterus and that tightening gets longer over time then this is the FIRST SIGN. 

Here is an example: if you wake up in the morning and have a tightening sensation (contraction) that lasts for 30 seconds and then by noon you notice that the tightening lasts a full minute each time then your contractions are lasting longer. 

The next sign that you are in labor is when the tightening (contraction) is getting stronger. The sensations get more painful and/or more intense.

Here is an example: if you feel contractions that really don't hurt and then a few hours later you realize that the contractions are intense enough that you can't sleep through them anymore. These contractions are getting stronger.

The final sign is when you notice that your contractions are coming closer together. The rest time in between the contractions is getting shorter. 

Here is an example: if you feel contractions that are coming about every 15 minutes and then realize that they are coming every 5 minutes. You might be able to sleep in between them for awhile and then you can barely make it to the bathroom before another comes. This means that they are getting closer together. 

An easy way to think of these three signs is experiencing contractions that are gettting

1) Longer

2) Stronger

3) Closer Together

If all of these are happening, then you are in labor! If you aren't able to rest through your contraction, it's a great time to pull out your contraction timer to time a few in order to get a more accurate idea of the contraction duration (length) and the contraction frequency (how often they are coming).

Congratulations and best of luck on your labor and birth.

You've got this.

Knowing how labor works and what to expect can help you decrease fear and help you feel prepared and excited about labor and birth.

You can continue learning more about how the body works during birth inside the Birth Tool Box course. This course provides uber-practical guidance you can recall easily and apply naturally.

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