As the due date for the delivery of your baby approaches you might be wondering what signs to look for that labor is about to begin. Some suggested signs that labor will begin very soon include:
Call your doctor if you have any of the following signs of labor even if it's weeks before your due date. The best way to know if your body is getting ready for delivery is to schedule regular pelvic exams. Your doctor will be able to distinguish changes in your cervix that you cannot feel but that insist labor could start right away or may still be days away.
If your water breaks it means it’s time to induce labor. It's not always easy to know if your water breaks. There is usually a gush of amniotic fluid, but sometimes it is simply a trickle. Let your doctor know when your water breaks and if any color or odor is present. An easy test can tell your doctor if the leaking fluid is urine or amniotic fluid. Often a woman will go into labor soon after her water breaks. Even if you are unsure whether or not your water broke it is best to be cautious. If you do not go into labor right away, your doctor may want to induce labor. The reason for this is because once your water breaks, your risk of getting an infection goes up as labor is delayed.
Many women, especially first-time mothers-to-be, can think they are in labor when they are really only experiencing what is called Braxton-Hicks contractions or “false labor.” Braxton-Hicks contractions are the tightening of your uterine muscle, and they are quite common towards the end of the pregnancy. The way to deduce whether it is false labor or not is to time your contractions. When in labor, contractions become regular, stronger, and more frequent. Braxton-Hicks contractions are not in a regular pattern, and eventually taper off and subside. If you ever are unsure if contractions are true labor, call your doctor.
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