Birth, Delivery and Labor
First make sure that you're ready for labor and the birth of your baby by having your bags packed early and ready for the hospital.
Signs of Labor
Signs of labor would be true contractions, not Braxton Hicks, which are irregular contractions that prepare your body for true labor. They slow down when you move or walk around and are not as painful as true contractions. Braxton Hicks are felt more in your abdomen. True labor may be felt more in the back. if the contractions become more painful instead of subsiding after walking around, it is probably time to call your health care provider.
Another labor sign is the release of the mucous plug. As the cervix begins to dilate or open up, mucous will be discharged. It may be tinged with blood or be pinkish in color. If you notice any bright red discharge call your health care provider immediately! You could be bleeding which can be a life threatening condition.
Just before labor begins you may experience "nesting" or a sudden urge to clean with a burst of energy.
All of the above conditions can occur days or weeks before labor and indicate that labor is imminent.
Your membranes may rupture or your water may break. When this happens you may feel a gush of fluid coming from your vagina. Call your health care provider immediately. You are in true labor. You'll need to be monitored as infection can set in causing danger to your baby. If you think you are too early to deliver it will be too late to stop the labor. Labor contractions will increase in frequency and pain after the rupture of the amniotic sac. With most women this does not occur until they are about to deliver. If the water does break, a physician may need to induce if labor goes too long due to infection that can set in.