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You may experience labor symptoms as your body is preparing itself for your baby's arrival. Many women start to notice an increase in pressure in their lower abdomen and pelvis, similar to menstrual cramps. According to eMedicine Health, you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge, which is related to the shifting of hormones that helps prepare your body for labor.
Have a plan of action, so that when you begin to experience actual labor, things will go smoothly.
You may experience a feeling of tightness in your abdomen, as well as pain in your lower back or belly and sometimes into your legs. Some women notice an increase in a bloody mucous discharge, which suggests that your cervix is opening. When your membranes have ruptured, your contractions will probably become more intense and closer together. According to the American Pregnancy Association, false labor, or warm-up labor, is the experience of recognizable uterine tightening, but with inconsistent timing.
Soaking in a warm bath, listening to peaceful music, using aromatherapy, eating something you like, and trying to get some rest can all help them to calm down.
If this is really labor, the contractions won't subside but will continue and become more frequent.
If it's relatively close to your due date and you have rapid, regular contractions for an extended period, don't hesitate to go to the hospital. If you have a large gush of greenish or bluish fluid, or if you feel something coming from your vagina, this could be a medical emergency where the cord slips down next to the baby. If you are having excessive pain that does not go away, this might suggest something is wrong. If you feel the baby isn't moving or hasn't been moving very much, this is another reason to take action. If you are less than 37 weeks and experiencing any of the pre-term labor signs mentioned above, don't hesitate to call. If you are on your way to the hospital and faced with a fast birth, the important thing is to keep your baby and yourself safe and warm.


Discovery Health has a comprehensive Web site with helpful information for all levels of pregnancy. The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is a great book to refer to during each stage of pregnancy. Request a free magazine from American Baby, talk with mothers of all ages and stages on their site forum, and get free products. If you are concerned about recognizing labor, talk with your doctor, midwife, or healthcare provider. In the last four to six weeks before you give birth, you might notice some of these changes.
Known as "nesting," you may experience a burst of energy as you prepare to get everything ready for the baby. Some women notice a light, bloody mucus that usually indicates that the cervix, the lower section of the uterus, is opening and thinning out. In the final appointments with your doctor, he or she will conduct manual internal exams and tell you how much the cervix has thinned by percentage, with a goal of 100 percent. Pre-labor contractions, called Braxton-Hicks contractions, can occur as part of your body's preparation for real labor. If you are having a lot of bright red bleeding, call your OB provider immediately as this is something about which to be concerned. This means that your membranes have released and the sac containing the amniotic fluid has burst. Call your OB provider and let them know you think your membranes have ruptured and that you are in labor.
This is nature's way of helping to clear out your bowel to make room for your baby to come through the birth canal. At the very least, you'll discover how long it takes to get there, and receive peace of mind if it's false labor. Any time you have a concern or something doesn't feel right to you, sort of a mother's sixth sense, follow through on it and have things checked out.
He or she can help you understand the changes that will take place in your body when your baby is ready to arrive.


Preterm labor is when labor starts before a baby is fully developed, so moms need to be in tune with the signs. Discuss with your OB care provider when they want to be called or what you should do if you think you are having symptoms of labor. You may also discover you are no longer short of breath because your lungs have more room to expand. If you are confused or don't understand what is happening, call your OB health care provider and discuss your situation with them. These practice contractions will usually go away if you lie down, eat or drink, or move around. You should call your OB provider when the contractions become regular and are about four to five minutes apart. The hospital staff deals with this all the time, and there's absolutely no harm in looking out for the health and safety of your child and yourself. Called lightening, this simply means the baby has snuggled further down into your pelvic bones.
Keep the cord to the placenta attached, and stimulate the baby by rubbing its body to help it breathe. Instead, you will notice more pressure down near your bladder, which means you will feel like you need to urinate more often.
Some mothers will hover at 3-4 centimeters for days or weeks, but dilation will rapidly increase as actual labor approaches.
Sometimes it's easy to confuse the amniotic fluid with urine, but a spot check and sniff will help you tell the difference.



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