Your vagina is pretty amazing and you probably already knew that, but when it comes to childbirth, it's more than just a badass — it's also like a crystal ball. The third trimester vaginal signs that mean labor is coming might not be too surprising to you (I mean, your vagina is kind of made for this thing), but knowing them can make you feel more prepared. And if there's anything that deserves a little homework and studying, it's childbirth, right?
There are a lot of things your body puts into motion to give you a heads up that your baby is on its way, but your vagina specifically has its own signs (and I don't mean a baby's head crowning out of it.) Some are subtle, like a shift in your vaginal discharge, and others are more like the movie versions of labor and childbirth with lots of leaking and someone yelling for boiling water.
But, it's worth noting that there aren't too many of them. According to the American Pregnancy Association, most of the action is happening with your contractions. While your cervix is dilating, early labor can take anywhere from eight to 12 hours, so it's important to remember that any vaginal change doesn't necessarily mean labor is imminent. Until you reach active labor, you'll probably be more focused on how those contractions feel, timing them, and trying to rest in between. But knowing these vaginal signs that mean labor is coming can make you feel a little more prepared.
1. There's An Increase & Change In Vaginal Discharge
Your vagina gives you a fair amount of warning with this one sign. Mayo Clinic noted that you could experience an increase in your vaginal discharge that's clear, pink, or slightly bloody a few days before labor actually begins. (Or it could happen right when labor starts.) Obviously, you shouldn't be bleeding heavily, but if you see this kind of discharge in your third trimester, brace yourself. Labor is coming.
2. Your Water Breaks
OK, this is a big one. The American Pregnancy Association noted that when your water breaks, it consists of your membranes rupturing and leaking amniotic fluid. It could be a big gush, but it could also be trickling or just a feeling of wetness in your vagina. If it smells like pee, it's pee. But if it's odorless, buckle up. It's time to have a baby.
3. Your Cervix Dilates
This is the sign that basically tells you you're about to become a parent, so you know, it's only a little terrifying. The American Pregnancy Association noted that your cervix dilates throughout your entire labor, but when it's time to let you know labor is coming, it slowly begins, dilating until about three centimeters until you're considered to be in the active labor phase. You can't really know without someone checking you out, but hey, it's a sign your vagina is preparing.