anything like me, you're on the lookout for any hint of early labor signs. You question every
little change, and are quick to wonder "Am I going into labor?!"
Below you’ll find 4 signs that you might think indicate you’re in early labor. Not so fast… these aren’t really early labor signs. But, for the good news: all these pre-labor signs that you’re feeling these last few weeks are doing something.
You feel like you’re carrying a bowling ball between your legs. Everything hurts. You get so uncomfortable and feel so much pressure you must be going into labor soon, right?
Along with the pressure your baby is causing, the pain you feel is a result of hormone changes. At the end of pregnancy, your body produces hormones called prostaglandin and relaxin. These hormones soften your cervix and pelvic ligaments. That’s why you feel all loosy-goosy down there in your pelvic area. The ligaments that hold your pelvis together are softening so your pelvis can move for your baby to come through. Although this pressure and pain in your pelvis isn’t an early labor sign, you know it’s coming.
Has your belly dropped so low you can’t keep it in your shirt? As labor approaches, your baby descends down into the pelvis to engage itself for birth. This is called lightening, although it should be called “heavying” because the further down baby goes, the more pressure you feel.
The good news is that as baby drops, his head puts pressure on your cervix, which both dilates and in turn causes contractions.
For first time moms, lightening usually happens earlier than in subsequent pregnancies. So if you are a first time mom and your baby has dropped, you may have another couple weeks or so of pregnancy. But if this isn’t your first rodeo, your baby might not drop till the beginning of labor.
These last few weeks of pregnancy you’ve been exhausted. But all of a sudden you have a burst of energy.
You want to wash every single piece of baby clothes you have, again, and fold it all perfectly. You want to scrub your house top to bottom in one day, and paint the living room, and put the crib together, and…. You are nesting and this, while not an early labor sign (sorry), is a sign that labor is coming soon.
I call this the calm before the storm. As labor gets very close, you may feel a decrease in your baby’s movement. As the baby engages down into the pelvis, there is less room to move around. Babies tend to settle down a lot when labor is about to begin. Don’t mistake this for baby not moving at all. If you don’t feel your baby moving at all, you should definitely call your care provider.