Pregnancy — especially the first time around — comes with a lot of "is it time?" questions as you near the end of your 40 weeks. Every movement in your belly is a possible contraction and each trip to the bathroom brings with it an examination of what you're leaving behind in the toilet. Anticipation and eagerness have you on the look out for potential signs that it's baby time, but even if you do spot a few, you still might wonder, "Am I in labor?" Experts say there are a few key things you'll want to keep in mind.
"When to make the drive to the hospital varies for every pregnant woman," Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health. Period., tells Romper in an email interview. One major factor? Pain, Ross says. "If you can tolerate the pain and are able to easily breathe through the contractions, you may be able to stay home a bit longer," she says. "Once the pain becomes more intense and increasingly painful, then it’s time to gather your hospital bag and head over to the hospital."
One thing my mom assured me as I neared the end of my pregnancy and constantly questioned whether I was feeling contractions? "Trust me, you'll know."