When you're closing in on that due date, it's easy to get hyper-vigilant about potential labor signs. Hey, you're just eager for that baby to arrive at last. So is nausea a sign of labor, or does it only mean you your stomach is upset? For some moms, a queasy feeling might mean your baby is planning to debut soon, so there's an upside to that gross feeling.
For many women in late pregnancy, feelings of nausea occur a day or two before actual labor begins, according to Sutter Health. In fact, it may even feel like you've come down with flu-like symptoms, minus the fever. Indigestion and even vomiting are also not uncommon, as further noted by Sutter Health. Just think of this experience as morning sickness's last stand.
So if you're understandably on high alert for any signs of labor, then maybe the nausea is a good sign. As strange as that sounds, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes diarrhea frequently occur at the same time as the beginning of labor, according to Live Science. Whether the labor causes stomach issues, or vice versa, is still not totally understood. For all the advances in the medical understanding of pregnancy, labor, and delivery, some aspects of bringing a baby into the world are still somewhat mysterious. "We don't really know what mechanisms bring on labor," said Leslie Ludka, a certified nurse midwife, in Live Science. "Science hasn't figured this out yet." There's still a lot of guesswork when it comes to exact labor signs, in other words.
On the other hand, feeling queasy doesn't necessarily mean your baby is soon on the way. In fact, nausea and even vomiting are common in the final weeks of pregnancy because the growing baby crowds the mom's GI tract, as certified nurse-midwife Colleen Moreno explained in The Bump. Growing a new person in your uterus just doesn't leave a lot of room for much else.
And for some moms-to-be, the entire experience of pregnancy is literally nauseating. Although most cases of it improve by the second trimester, morning sickness can affect some women throughout their pregnancy, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The nausea associated with morning sickness can be severe and last for hours at a stretch, sometimes resulting in vomiting. Unfortunately, the exact causes of morning sickness are not yet fully understood, as further noted by the Cleveland Clinic.
So what should a nauseous pregnant mom do? Every labor is unique, so it's impossible to say for certain how yours will play out ahead of time. If the nausea is accompanied by other early signs of labor, such as the loss of your mucus plug and practice contractions, then it could mean baby is ready to go, according to Romper. If it's just standalone nausea, however, you might want to wait and see if other signs develop. And as always, if you have any specific questions about your pregnancy and labor, don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional for advice. Whatever the case, hopefully your baby will have a safe and healthy birth soon.