Signs of Labor
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How will I know when labor has started?
All expectant mothers want to know: What does labor pain feel like? There are a few signs of labor that let you know when labor has begun or is imminent.
- For some women the first sign is when their water breaks (contractions usually begin soon after, and at this point you will officially be in labor).
- For others labor begins gradually and contractions are more subtle, starting with pains across the back and abdomen and progressing slowly. Contractions are described differently by different women, but they will usually feel like menstrual cramps and will move in waves over the uterus.
- Passing of the mucus plug is a common sign of labor. This happens when the cervix begins to open and a mucus discharge, either clear or bloody, appears. Although this usually means labor is about to start, it can take up to a few weeks for it to actually begin.
- Another sign that labor is imminent is lightening, a term used when your baby settles into your pelvis.
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