If this is your first pregnancy, it’s normal to wonder what labor will feel like and how to know for sure when it’s time to get going. 

How do I know I am in Labor?

Labor is the process where periodic uterine contractions lead to the delivery of the baby, followed by the delivery of the placenta. Your health provider will usually tell you about the signs of labor as you enter your third trimester. 

The onset of labor is usually marked by regularly timed and strong contractions. They differ from Braxton Hicks (false) contractions that occur randomly now and then. 

Once you start feeling these contractions often, it should be followed by a brownish discharge known as the bloody show from your vagina. 

Eventually, your water will break, resulting in a gush of water from your vagina. 

All of these signs are highly suggestive of you being in labor.

What are some signs that labor is nearing?

If you’re anxious about entering labor uninformed, you might want to look out for signs that suggest you’re nearing labor:

  1. Braxton Hicks contractions

You start feeling these super-strong contractions occurring now and then. They aren’t regularly timed like real contractions, so you haven’t entered labor yet, but this might be a good sign that it’s coming soon.

  1. Increase in vaginal discharge

Brownish vaginal discharge is suggestive of labor. However, if you feel like there has been an increase in the amount of vaginal discharge you have daily, it might be a sign that labor is near.

This discharge can be clear or pinkish initially, eventually getting darker as labor begins.

  1. Increased pressure in the pelvic region

As your baby moves downwards into your pelvis, you start to feel an increased pressure in that area resulting in a particular type of ache you haven’t felt yet. Some women may feel increased pain depending on the position of the baby.

  1. Gut changes

If you’re feeling nauseous or having frequent bowel movements at the end of the third trimester, it can be a sign of impending labor. Change in bowel habits and altered digestion is usually due to the downward movement of your baby along with the action of hormones that help labor proceed.

When should I go to the birth center?

Most women prefer going to the birth center as soon as their water breaks or when they start to feel regularly timed contractions. However, you can choose to spend the initial stages of your labor at home depending on how comfortable you feel doing it. 

Don’t hesitate to call us at the birth center if you have any confusion! Our midwives and nurses are here to assist you on call and help you with all of your needs throughout the process.