What Does Pre-Labor Feel Like?

Ladies, the days leading up to when you went into labor, how did you feel? Were there any signs—big or small? I never went into labor with Em. I was induced due to high blood pressure. So, I am not really super sure what pre-labor (is there such a thing?) feels like. I have a pretty good idea what full-on contractions feel like, but not much more than that. And I’m curious.

Throw me an educational bone or two?

39 Comments

  1. not sure either…
    all i can tell you is if you think you have to fart first thing in the morning, don’t roll over and try to fart on hubs… because the “fart” may be your water breaking:) that was my first hint it was time.

    good luck and enjoy the last few moments as a family of 3:)

    Reply

    1. Anyone still here? I just started researchi g my “symptoms” of late. Like the last week and … right now, and i found this!!
      Everything ive been experiencing is getting more frequent and fits so many of everyones stories. (Hot flash, sweating NOW!)
      32 wks, 2 days i guess, im “due” nov 18, 2016 – already knowing my Dr plans to indice for c section, possibly 2 or more weeks early based on history and current “gestational diabetes” and hypertension.
      Two previous c sections. First one in 2011 because 12 hrs of ‘labour’ and nooo dilation my bp was rising and i wasnt progressing.
      Second c section July 2015 because of still birth at 27 weeks so obviously, two days of labour and no progress.

      Ive wanted it and FELT it. Tnings will be different this tie. At m yu appt two weeks ago this … tuesday, they measured me and said i was measuring 31 weeks, i guess, when i was technically supposed to be 30 wks with 3 days until 31.

      No word on dilation, idk if my dr intends to even check when its ckoser to time. Which if what Im experiencing is indeed leading up to an early labour, no dr is expecting it of me!!
      I started to experience braxton hicks w my still born before he passed away. First time in my life id experienced it. And this time i believe ive had them through out and in the last few weeks, more.
      I had a day where i just WANTED water! Ive been working extra at work and even an extra hour so i figured some of my exhaustion etc cohld be due in part to ‘over working’. I didnt expect to have heruntil atleast the first week of november!
      I really would love to do a natural birth, though. Drs in this area are not even attempting to be hip to the new VBACs ive read about and ivebeen preparing my mind and my usband asmuch as possible for a surprise labour… because thats me! I am determined. But i also FEEL it.
      I just told my husband that i have felt for a while now that she isnt going to wait until November. (Ii aimed for a November sagittarius like myself. Am expecting a scorpio in november) and unless my body is trying to prepare graaaaduuuaaallllyyy i dont think im going to get a november at all. Ill settle for an October!! My girl is healthy and certainly of safe to deliver gestation.

      Even now, ive been having the temperature hot flashy spikes, (2-3 days noticably now) I noticed last night i had to poop but held it and today i guess i may not stay off the toilet.
      My whole familys been off a bit w allergies, but, when i saw the thing ab ‘flu symptoms’ i thought, maybe mine isnt allergies!
      I was feeling a bit dizzy at work the other day. Thought it was work and stress related, affecting my bp.
      I checked my blood pressure and was also having a headache on the left side of my head and face… may have been gas from the stove at work, also why i checked my bp. Watching for onset of pre eclampsia*
      Nausea i noticedd randomly hitting me at work, also why i started choosi g water over my pepsi, along w reulating my sugar.
      This morning woke w a pain feeling in my pee spot.. which i thought was the start of a uti possibly, maybe, but i have no idea. It comes and goes. Maybe its the “pinch” feeling along w the pressure feeling.
      Im kind of all over the place explaining this but, i think my nody is preparing for a Pre-Trick or Treat delivery.
      I really want to let it.
      Hopefully after Septembers over. Lol
      (If not, thatd be very ironic since my son was due september 28, 2015)
      Soooo. Recap:
      Nausea, ‘hot flash’, dizzy spell, pinch\pressure feeling, thirsty for water, random bouts of feeling weak\ muscleless again -floppy like my arms dont wanna lift even a can (forgot ab this. I was doing it a lot in preg before i knew i was and still dont know what it was!)
      “Round ligament pain?” Back pain and stomach pain that was only on my sides. Not in the center of my back nor the middle of my stomach.
      Possible light crampy Braxton Hicks’ still\again.
      Just all around crappy feeling
      But really need to get things done and prepared, in case : Feeling and knowledge…
      Oh! I assume its because im back to work and doing the cooks job for the week instead of my job, but my hands have been feeling swelly more which they did a ton in previous\unhealthy pregnancy, but are only doing now with lil GeGi, and feet and hands want to go numbish as soon as i sit still.
      Been having cramps in calves and thighs, terrrrrible restless leg syndrome at bed time (due to over working during the day and lying down at home???)

      I may have missed some. Its hard to pin point it all on the run down right now. (Hot flash now, nausea, tired, hungry)
      Son suddenly got more clingy and i just thought its because he started kindergarten. Probably. But also i wonder if hes sensing the coming of baby sister <3

      My son was having morning sickness in the first few mths (not a joke!)
      And my husband was getting sick from greasey food and apparently my avid reflux… he hasnt had an episode of it thugh in a few mths. And last night he did it again.
      The chills where he gets too hot and has to throw up, but im burning up and trying to end avid relfux which seems UNstoppable lately!! And i know drs say if u cant stop ur acid reflux with your meds u should go see a dr… i havent? I try not to panic and be paranoid girl!!!
      Of course, i shouldnt be so picky ab hospital visits after my son died in the womb.

      Reply

  2. Umm, how do I say this delicately…your vagina might show changes. Mucas plug falls out or there might be more mucas type stuff, slight spotting. I also felt like the baby was practically scraping my cervix because he was so low. Pressure. You might be pooping a lot, very crampy or achey. All 3 times, I felt like I would normally feel if I were about to start my period. Yeah, this wasn’t helpful at all. Ha.

    Reply

  3. Sara’s got it, you get a ton of icky egg whitey gunk oozing out, kinda like when you ovulate but x 20, about a week before. When I was dilating (in early 1-4 centimetres dilation) I had a ton of blood ( which is normal but still freaked me out ) Only something like 15% of women have their water breaking as a first sign of labor. Period like cramps that get more intense and closer together :) You will know :)

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  4. Y’all rule. Sara: you ARE helping. I forgot all about the mucous plug, for example!

    Thanks, ladies. Keep ’em coming!

    Reply

  5. The only hint I had, until my water broke or the onset of major contractions, was the loss of my mucus plug the day before. With son #1 I lost my plug, and the following evening my water broke & away we went. With son #2 the m.p. was again lost, and the following morning I started having major contractions and was in full labor. (I had also been 4 cm/80% for a week).

    But as the others said – when it’s finally happening for real you will know!

    Reply

  6. i wish i had the mucous plug help, my outer OS (outer part of my cervix) was open through out the pregnancy with both, so i lost and reproduced plug all along… you might not feel anything, and you might feel a lot:)
    i remember being really tired, but restless… like i had a million things that needed doing, so i was gonna get them done.

    Reply

  7. oh and i had the calf cramps like i get before my period the night before my water broke the day of.
    all the signs i had with Vi, i was induced with Grey, so i didn’t know what to watch for either. it was fun and annoying thinking, “oh, is this it?” but once it started it was really neat to see and feel your body doing it on it’s own.
    i’m getting all excited for you now:)

    Reply

    1. I’ve been dealing with the same thing. I’m at risk of having a preterm labor. About last week or so I start feeling like maybe I’ll go into labor alot sooner than I think. My cervix started shortnening around 27 weeks, I’m 3 days away from 31 weeks today. I have alot of discharge but cramping has become more consistent. Not to mention those horrible calf cramps. Glad someone went through what I’m going through.

      Reply

  8. My daughter was born at 6am on Tuesday morning and I felt NOTHING until 1pm on Monday afternoon. (On the previous Friday, I was told that my cervix was stubbornly staying closed, etc.) My labour was pretty typical/regular all through Monday and things didn’t get intense enough for me to want to get to the hospital until about 1am. Things were… hard for next few hours, but nothing unmanageable.

    (I’m so excited for you!!)

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  9. For my first I felt nothing at all and had not one sign and was finally induced after being a week late. For my second I had “false labor” constractions for 2 weeks or so (big cramps plus loose stools), had fully descended and was about 3cm. The day before I went into labor I had spotting, and that night the cramping was the same it just started becoming more frequent and regular. I was excited to actually get to go into real labor that time!

    Reply

  10. I had flu-like symptoms for several days before actually going into labour – I had heard of this but after 4-5 days with no signs of labour I thought I had definitely caught something instead. Throwing up, nausea, stomach upset & muscle aches… then I felt better for about 3 hours then woke up with minor cramping which led to ‘real’ labour a few hours later.

    Reply

  11. Jesse: I forgot about the flu-like symptoms as well. Good to know. Good to know.

    Reply

    1. i had flu.like symptoms I sneezed and my water broke lol

      Reply

  12. With my second I had braxton hicks about two weeks, off and on, in advance of labor. The braxton hicks became more frequent and “painful” as I got closer to labor. It felt crampy instead of pinchy. They never lasted long.

    Before going into labor the baby dropped a lot. With both children I craved a lot of sweets and fatty foods often before labor. I also felt restless and more tired than usual. Labor began with contractions that felt like a “pinch”/precise targeted “pain” in my lower pelvis (around where I assume my cervix is). With my second it radiated into my back as an achey feeling. The contractions where there when I was laying down or upright. They would come more often and stronger if I was up and moving and where strongest if I sat on the toilet! I could feel each build, peak and then recede. Imagine a roller coaster ride.

    Once I am in labor I have a lot of energy. I have to keep moving. I can’t stand to be still through the contractions.

    My contractions were never consistent, time wise, and some hurt more than others with both my babies. But overall they increased in the severity of the “pain” and I write “pain” because it didn’t really hurt until I was 8cm dilated–about 1 hours before my second child was delivered. The bad pain began much earlier with my first child though.

    I think in my gut I always knew I was in labor and when the “shit was about to hit the fan”. But I always am unsure. Is it? Is it really? Is it just wishful thinking? I should listen to my instincts and so should you. :)

    Reply

  13. I don’t remember having any advance warning that I was going into labor, although I did tell my work that I was not coming back the next week because I just didn’t want to be there any more, and then I went into labor early Sunday morning. So maybe I DID know, subconsciously. Ha.

    Reply

  14. With my second son, I had BH contractions for 2 weeks ahead of labor, mucus plug fell out over a week ahead – I was so impatient after that! Everything I read said that you don’t feel like eating once you’re about 24 hours out, but it was the opposite for me – the evening and morning before I went into labor (at noon) I was STARVING. I just kept eating, it was weird. So I’d say any big change from normal will probably mean you’ve got less than a week left.

    Also, in my non-scientific poll of family and friends, the faster your labor goes the more intense/painful it is. Both my boys were born within 8 hours of the first “real” contraction, and the pain I describe sounds a lot worse than the pain my sister-in-law talks about when she labored for 3 days before her son was born. I was dilated at least 2 cm for the last month, too, so it’s not just that she had a headstart and I didn’t. It holds true for my friend (looong labors that hurt, but didn’t make her want to die) and my sister (less than 4 hours for all 3 of her kids, said an unanesthetized c-section would have been less painful).

    Reply

  15. I had braxton hicks contractions more frequently during the last couple weeks. I was at 2 cm for most of the last month and 5cm the day before. I also started waddling really bad the week before because the head was sitting so low in my pelvis. The last few days before I went into labor I was just flat exhausted from the moment I heaved myself out of bed in the morning. My legs started swelling quite a bit which was new for my pregnancy. Of course, the exhaustion and swelling could in part be attributed to the heatwave we were having and that I was still working full days. I think my body was telling me to slow on down. I lost my mucas plug in small globs with only the tiniest bit of pink streaking over the two days before. The night before I went into labor I was an emotional wreck, and was on the phone sobbing to my mom about how worn out and uncomfortable I was, and how I just couldn’t put on a “happy to be pregnant face” any longer at work. Luckily my water broke that night! I had a fast labor with my water breaking at 2am and my son being born at 7am. I disagree with Jess’s comment above about fast labor hurting a lot, mine was intense but the pain wasn’t that bad and really I didn’t have much time to think about it. I just focused on each contraction as it came and shut out most everything else.

    Reply

  16. With mine, I had a couple of days of just momentary tightness around the baby. Enough to make you gasp, but not painful.

    V was breech until a couple of days before he was born, I let out a HUGE belch in the docs office and could feel him turn, I was so embarrassed. M was in launch & load position from day 1, so I was very uncomfortable with her from the beginning.

    I never had any stomach issues, I had Mexican food pretty exclusively with both of them.

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  17. I only had hard labor with my son, I didn’t have any beginning labor at all. I had my first contraction @ 6am, and he was born @ 10am. I could barely breathe, the labor was awful.

    With my daughter, labor started at 6am (again!) and labor progressed normally, I did not go straight into hard labor. She wasn’t born until 2pm (which is still relatively short.

    After my first, I wasn’t sure I could go thru labor again. If my second had been my first – I wouldn’t have had any qualms whatsoever.

    So – there is no planning for this stage.

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  18. With my first I felt weird most of the day, dizzy and like I wasn’t there. With #2 also felt strange on and off for about 2 weeks, made a few false trips to L&D the day I had her I started feeling tiny cramps and had a little bleeding and then they came full force. This time around I am 35 weeks and starting to get those odd feelings like she’s coming soon. More Braxton Hicks, some cramping and really super duper tired and nauseous.

    Reply

  19. With my second I felt like the baby’s head was so low. I felt pinching and discomfort a lot. And I was so grumpy. My doctor told me I could take tylenol and use a heat pad for the pain and discomfort. The morning I started labor I just felt really tired and rundown. I was resting on the couch and started feeling cramps – kind of like a period. But then I noticed that they were coming and going. Then they started to get closer. I went to the bathroom and saw some spotting. But my contractions were not very painful. They started at 9 am and were about 5-10 minutes apart by 11 am. But I could talk through them and got a shower and got all ready to go to the hospital. I got to the hospital a little after 1:30, and when the doctor checked me I was already 7 cm dilated. My son was born at 7:45 that evening.

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  20. Diarrhea. Stomach issues
    I was 35 weeks so didn’t connect it w (pre term) labor. My water broke while interviewing a pediatrician. Classic. She arrived 5 hours later!

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  21. I had a weird sort of feeling on a Sunday night that I was going to have Adeline on Tuesday. So I gave my husband a list of things to do and asked him to get them done Monday, because I was having a baby Tuesday. Monday evening I went to work as a nursing assistant (it was a particularly brutal shift) and at about 9:30 I got really hot, started sweating through my scrubs, and felt like I was going to pass out. One nurse told me that was how she felt a few hours before she went into labor. I got home a little after midnight, and a few minutes after I walked in the door, my water broke (barely a trickle, not like in movies). I didn’t have any contractions, those didn’t actually start until 6:00 AM on Tuesday when they started Pitocin. I think the mucous plug came out during labor. I had Braxton Hicks starting at 5 months, so I never paid attention to those at the end.

    So to answer your question, the only sign I had was feeling hot, sweaty, and like I was going to pass out a few hours before my water broke.

    Reply

    1. I am 30 weeks today and for 2 weeks ha e been having these hot spells that overtake my upper body and I feel like I’m going to pass out and am sweaty as well it only lasts for 3-5 minutes at the most I haven’t spoken to my doctor about this yet because ive had multiple false trips to L&D I don’t know what to do or think of it. Any thing you could say to help? Please and thank you

      Reply

  22. Oh, and yes, Adeline was born on Tuesday, like I thought she would be. :)

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  23. Just saw your Twitter post about being only 1.5 cm. I went from 1cm to 10cm in about 7 hours, not drug induced. So there’s hope! There’s always hope! Besides, you didn’t want a baby born on Groundhog’s Day, right? February 3 sounds like an awesome idea to me. :-) Best of luck to you all!

    Reply

  24. I feel all that aching sore havey 34 weeks sence wensday feel sick crampy pains every where aching Every where I feel close hard to sleep eat breath sit walk feet hands always swollen tierd more just wanna lay down most of my time now tummy aching sore peeing all throw the night day but no labor im all mess up

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  25. Ill be 35 weeks Saturday my baby girl was turned at 33 weeks i was having really bad contractions for 2 hrs one night then they went to every 15 mins stayed that way for a few days but the doctor said i wasnt dialated any her head was just right there and she was pushing on it. Im now almost 35 and been having really bad sharp pains i. My vagina and painful like period cramps that come and go sometimes i have to cross my legs really tight it hurts so bad. Last night i started feeling nauseous really bad and woke up nauseous but it eventually went away later on in the day the nausea came back and im hungry but can barely eat but when i do or drink anything other than water i burp up puke constantly have been having lots of bowel movements sometimes i just go to pee and it comes out i didnt even know i was using it. The cramps hurt really bad. Is this a sign im going into labor?

    Reply

  26. I’m 32 weeks today and have been in preterm for about a week. I have felt really restless since last night I got 3 hours of sleep and when I woke up it felt more like 12 hours. Today I started feeling really nausea like my body wants to throw up but hasn’t. Iv had next to no appetite for 2 days have to force myself to eat and even though I do eat well over the last 2 weeks iv lost 5 pounds. I’m shaky and keep going from really hot to really cold and have been having bh. This is my first could it be my body getting ready to go into labor??

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  27. Im 38 weeks and 2 days n i feel like im having a lot of cramps in my vagina n also have a lot of diarrhea and can hardly eat… What does this mean?

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  28. I’m currently 34.6 weeks pregnant and lost my mucus plug today. I had an apt with my OB yesterday and he could feel baby’s head through my cervix as it was totally softened. I’M SO SHAKEY! OB has told me to totally chill out and rest to try and hold off labour. My tummy has been tightening and i’m SUPER nauseas. I think i’m just freaking out? OB wants me to hold off for another two weeks, but I really don’t feel like it’s up to me. I just have no idea what to expect! I’ve had contractions for the past 2 weeks on and off and two nights ago felt the worst cramps of my LIFE.
    So, here’s the lowdown:
    No appetite
    Loose stool
    Tummy tightening
    Loss of Mucus Plug
    Nausea
    Feelin’ Shakey

    I guess i’m semi-panicking because my due date is still 5 weeks away!
    Just trying to keep it cool, but I think baby is a few days away.

    That’s what my gut says, does this sound about right?

    Reply

    1. So did you have the baby full term?

      Reply

  29. My first hint was when my dog woke me up at 7 am, acting like she wanted to go out, so I took her out. As soon as she was outside, she immediately wanted back in.
    I didn’t think much of it at the time, because I felt hungry, and worse, I really had to poop. I popped some bread in the toaster, grabbed my phone for some reason, and ran to the bathroom. After going one and two, the feeling persisted, so I ate a couple of bites of toast. By this point, it was nearly 7:30 and the feeling was still there, but it was sort of a pretty even come and go. I still had my phone on me, so I started my stopwatch app and, sure enough, it was really even.
    I went to the hospital at about 9 and he was born at 3:25 am, 9 days earlier than expected, and 1 day before my next OB appointment.
    I am a little nervous this time because I am 25 weeks pregnant with another baby boy, who is going to be 12 months younger than his brother (adopted to a good family) and who is going to stay with us.

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  30. I’m 31 weeks and for like the past three days I’ve had major fatigue, restless no sleep and I can’t get comfy…I’ve had pains off and on throughout my lower abdomen and lower back but i can’t tell the difference with labor and ive been consistantly sweating and it’s not even that hot out

    Reply

  31. I’m 37 weeks. The baby is due August 28. Since week 33 I’ve had sharp pains in my cervix. Got checked I wasn’t dilated. Now at 37 weeks my symptoms include:

    Sharp pains in cervix
    Sore vulva when I wake up
    Hard to walk when I wake up
    Lots of pressure in lower abdomen
    Frequent loose bowels for 1 week
    Hot flashes
    Chills when I need to pee
    Very hungry yet nauseous at times
    Baby had dropped since last week

    Anyone else feel this before labor started? Is this a sign?

    Reply

  32. I have had now 3 days of these cramps,hip bones hurting,inner bones too,feel alot of pressure,not that hungry,but drinking water,and (tmi) having diarrehea. I am only 35weeks today.

    Reply

  33. I’m 32.4 weeks pregnant I’m having contractions that bring me to tears but there not on time every time my son moves I feel this horrible pinching in my sides I have to poo but can’t the urge to pee is ridiculous nothing comes out please help me I’ve had 2 kids but I knew I was in labor with them this baby is weird idk if it’s labor or just really uncomfortable please any advice

    Reply

    1. I think you should visit a doctor! I wish I could help you, but I think it would be wise to see a doctor. Could you be constipated? Maybe take something for that?

      Reply

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