The closer you get to the end of your pregnancy, the more the anticipation begins to build. That's why it can be easy to feel certain signs that make you think your baby is on the way, when they aren't. Of course, it's important to remember that every woman is different and can experience completely unique symptoms. In fact, my best friend, who has three children, says that none of her pregnancies or labor and deliveries were the same. When you take all of that into consideration, it's understandable that you might mistake something for being an indication that you're about to give birth.
When I was preparing for the arrival of my son, every little twinge and hiccup made my heart skip a beat. As I neared the end of my third trimester, my doctor encouraged me to keep track of my baby's movements, which is a fairly common practice. This heightened awareness just made me even more convinced that something was a sign that I was about to go into labor, when it was really just a false alarm. If you're curious as about the signs that can make you think your baby is on they when they aren't, then check these out.
1. Mucus Plug Loss
If you're not familiar with what this means, the American Pregnancy Association (APA) noted that, "a mucus plug blocks the opening of the cervix to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus." If you start to lose your mucus plug, either partially or fully. you may think you're about to go into labor. But, as the APA further noted, "if the mucus appears normal in color, there is no urgent need to contact your health care provider." Labor could still be days or weeks away.
2. Pelvic Pressure
You're probably no stranger to feeling uncomfortable from the waist down, but anything painful in the lower abdomen can give some expectant mothers pause. As OB-GYN Dr. Ching-Lynn Chen told Parents, pelvic pressure is not a sign of true labor by itself. If you're concerned or if you're experiencing multiple symptoms, then you might want to check with your doctor.
3. Stomach Pain
Since your baby is basically positioned near your stomach, it's understandable that pain in your belly could be mistaken for a sign of labor. According to Baby Center, however, abdominal pain is typically a sign of false labor since true labor pains usually begin in your lower back and then travel towards the lower area of your torso. Again, trust your gut — literally — if you think something might be off.
4. Fluid Leakage
Being woken up by the sensation of fluid that smells like ammonia being expelled into your underwear could have you believing your water broke. According to What To Expect reported, "that’s probably urine, not amniotic fluid, which has no odor." It's also helpful to remember that when your water breaks, it's not usually as dramatic as it is in movies and television shows.
5. Irregular Contractions
Did you know that you can still experience your muscles contracting without actually going into labor? According to The Bump, these are Braxton Hicks contractions, which are characterized by a, "tightening in your uterus that’s irregular, infrequent and unpredictable." How can you be sure this isn't the real deal? "These contractions won’t increase in intensity the way the contractions of labor do," The Bump further explained. You might want to keep a timer handy just in case, though.
6. Discharge Changes Color
The decidedly garish term of a "bloody show" is when blood and mucus appear in your discharge as a sign of impending labor, according to Healthline. So anything that isn't egg-white consistency can understandably make you think it could be a sign of labor. If, however, your discharge is brown instead of reddish or pink, What To Expect noted that this is likely from having intercourse or a cervical check-up and not a sign of labor. Still, if you want to play it safe, you can always double-check with your healthcare provider just to be sure.