It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had a baby before or not, recognising the signs of impending labour can be different for each baby. Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to say whether or not you are truly in labour. False labour is the bane of many a pregnant mum. It can come on quickly or take days to really get started, your water could break or your doctor could have to break it for you, or you could be just having Braxton Hicks contractions instead of the real thing.
There are signs that labour is approaching. Sadly, these symptoms could occur days or even weeks before the delivery. However, there is a great indication that your body is getting prepared for the big event so that you know it could happen at any time.
Many pregnant mums describe the nesting effect – a fierce urge to get ready for your baby’s arrival. This is a hormone driven instinct with a surge of unexpected energy that will have you cleaning, organising and rearranging.
You may feel your baby ‘drop’ into place. This feeling is also called lightening because it takes some of the pressure off your body as your child settles into the birth canal in preparation for arrival.
Of course the two big signals are your water breaking and contractions. If your water does actually break, contact your doctor immediately. Often it does not break at all so you cannot rely on it as your signal to get going. Also, you will begin experiencing regular contractions – painful ones that do not go away instead of the infamous Braxton Hicks contractions that will pass quickly. If you are having a contraction every five to ten minutes it is time to break out your phone.