Nobody has the power to predict when labour is going to start. One’s body actually begins to prepare for labour up to a month before you give birth.
One might even be unaware of what's going on or you may begin to notice new symptoms as your due date draws near.
Here are some signs you may notice in the weeks or days before labor starts:
Your baby drops. First time mother-to-be may feel what's known as "lightening" a few weeks before labor starts as your baby descends lower into your pelvis. You also might detect heaviness in your pelvis as this happens while noticing less pressure just below your rib cage, making it easier to catch your breath.
Braxton Hicks contractions. One of the signs of labour is a frequent and intense Braxton Hicks contractions, during which your cervix ripens and the stage is set for true labor. Some women experience a crampy, menstrual-like feeling during this time.
You pass your mucus plug. The mucus plug is the slight amount of thickened mucus that blocks the cervical canal leading to your uterus. The plug may come out all at once in a lump or as increased vaginal discharge as the days progresses. The mucus may be tinged with blood (which may be brown, pink, or red), in which case it may be referred to as "bloody show."
Your water breaks: a lot of women start having regular contractions sometime before their water breaks, but in some cases, the water breaks first. Labor usually follows soon after the water breaks. (You will be induced If contractions don't start promptly on their own.) Whether the amniotic fluid comes out in a large gush or a small trickle, call your doctor.
Differentiating false labor andtrue labor
It is very hard most times to differentiate false labor from the early stages of true labor. Here are some things that might help you sort it out:
False labor contractions come at irregular intervals and vary in length and intensity, they are unpredictable while true labor contractions may be irregular at first, over time they start coming at regular and shorter intervals, become increasingly more intense and last longer.
Pains from the contractions of false labor, are more likely to be centered in your lower abdomen while you may feel the pain start in your lower back and wrap around to your abdomen for true labor.
False labor contractions may subside on their own, or when you begin or stop an activity or change position while True labor contractions will persist and progress regardless of what you do.