Knowing the signs (prelabor stage can last for 2, 3, or even more weeks, so don?t be surprised if things don?t happen quickly)
* A nesting instinct ? the urge to rush around getting your house in order before the baby appears.
* Change in movement pattern.
* In the days before the birth it is normal to lose 2-3lbs
* You may experience slight diarrhea ? this is your body?s way of clearing out the bowel so it doesn?t interfere with the birth
* You might have a show ? the plug of mucus and blood that has blocked the cervix throughout your pregnancy is expelled now that the cervix is opening to let the baby through. This is a less common start to labor. If it does happen, tell your doctor or midwife because most caregivers prefer the baby to be born within 24-48 hours of your membranes being ruptured.
* You may have weeks of prelabor or Braxton Hicks contractions. They tend to be quite variable, sometimes coming every 20-30 minute, or even at 5-10 minute intervals for a short time, then stopping abruptly. Contractions of actual labor often start like severe cramps, with pain radiating down your legs as well as in your back and abdomen. Real labor contractions get stronger, last longer, and become more frequent.
When to go to the hospital:
* If your contractions are occurring 5 minutes apart or closer
* If you feel you need help to get through the pain of the contractions
* If your water breaks or you are bleeding
**If you have any doubts call your doctor or midwife and explain your symptoms