Signs and Stages of Labor – Pregnancy and Childbirth






VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

If you are nearing the end of your pregnancy, you are probably on the lookout for the signs of labor. Labor signs and symptoms can be different for every woman, so it can be tricky to know what to look for.


Read on to find out about some of the most common signs of labor, so you can know what to expect when it’s time for your baby to be born.

 1. Baby Dropping/Lightening

You might have heard this one referred to as your “baby dropping”, but it’s technical name is lightening. Lightening is when the baby situates itself in the birth canal. You can usually feel a noticeable change when this happens.


The pressure on your diaphragm and lungs will lessen, and you might feel MORE pressure when it comes to having to use the bathroom. Other people will probably be able to notice a difference in your appearance, and it will seem that the baby has moved further down.

2. Passing of the mucus plug

This one sounds kind of yucky, and that is because it is. Passing your mucus plug is something that usually means that labor is coming within the next few days, and maybe even hours.


There is a thick plug of mucus that protects the cervical opening during pregnancy to make sure that no bacteria gets in. However, when the cervix thins and relaxes near the start of labor, that plug is expelled. Most women notice the loss of their mucus plug when they go to the bathroom, and notice a clear or pink tinged clump of cervical mucus.

3. Rupture of the membranes

Rupturing of the membranes, also known as your water breaking, is perhaps the most famous sign that labor is imminent. While some women do experience a giant rush and gush of water like in the movies, most women will notice a small trickle or puddle of water, and some women even think that the amniotic fluid is just urine.


Keep in mind, however, that only around one in ten women will really experience a dramatic, movie-like rupture of the membranes, and for many women, the water sac is broken by the doctor at the hospital.


4.  Nesting Time

For most pregnant women, the end means lots and lots of fatigue and tiredness, so when nesting kicks in, it’s easy to tell. Many pregnant women feel a huge surge of energy and will start trying to finish up getting things ready for the baby right at the end of pregnancy.


This is called nesting, and it can happen anywhere in the last month of pregnancy. Don’t fight it and just go with the flow, at least you will get something accomplished during your nesting phase.

5. Contractions

By the end of your pregnancy, you might already be used to Braxton Hicks contractions coming and going, so you will probably know what to expect. The way to tell the difference between “real” contractions and Braxton Hicks are that BH contractions will never become more regular or closer together, and they will not get stronger.


If you see that your contractions are worsening over time, getting closer together or becoming more regular, chances are you are dealing with the real thing, and it might be time to head to the hospital to meet your little one.

Ms. Wisniewski has over 15 years experience as a labor and delivery nurse, having also worked previously as a nurse midwife in the Philippines and India. She enjoys empowering women and providing family centered care to women from all cultural and educational backgrounds.