What Are the Signs of Early Labor?

As you approach your due date, you may start to notice some subtle physical signs that labor is coming. These can range from a full month or more to just one hour before active labor begins. It's important to be aware of these early signs of labor, so you can be prepared for the transition to active labor and the baby's arrival. If your doctor or midwife does an internal vaginal exam, they can tell you if your cervix is softening, thinning, or dilating.

These are all signs that your body is preparing for labor and delivery. You may also experience

signs of preterm labor

hours to days before active labor begins. Acute back pain can be a sign that labor is coming, whether you're experiencing a backbirth or not. Backbirths usually occur when the baby has his head down but is facing forward (sometimes described as back to back).

If the pain becomes especially painful or is located in the lower back, it may be a sign that you are having a backbirth. You may also notice the mucosal plug, or even remnants of it, which may be a sign that labor is just a few days away. Water rupture is actually one of the final signs of labor experienced by most women and occurs naturally in only about 15 percent of births or less. While the calendar can't give you an accurate prediction, your body has many ways of detecting early signs of labor that tell you that your baby is on the way.

If you have any signs of labor and are less than 37 weeks pregnant, be sure to call your doctor or midwife right away, as they could be a sign of premature birth.

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