25 Signs You May Be About to Go Into Labor

by wrylilt

There are lots of signs that labor may be about to start. Here are some of the more common, as well as some of the weird and unusual signs of impending labor.

Once you reach 37 weeks of pregnancy, baby is considered term and at 40 weeks, full term - but it's still not unusual to go as far as 42 weeks.

The last weeks and days can really stretch, especially when you're looking for any sign that something is beginning to happen.

Here is a list of some of the signs that may indicate labor is either about to start or will be starting in the next few days.

Disclaimer: Every woman is different and will experience different signs before going into labour.

This is a guide to some of the signs that may indicate labor is near - but it is no way a guarantee.

If you have any concerns or unsure if labor has begun, you should always contact your medical carer for advice.

You may also want to read about pregnancy bleeding and discharge.

You May Legally Repin This Image
You May Legally Repin This Image

15 Minutes That Can Change Your Newborn's Life

Before reading on, I highly recommend reading this article on a simple procedure that can give your baby a better start to life (especially if they have complications or are preemie.) Read more here.

Absolutely Nothing

Some women have no signs at all before labor begins other than their first contraction.

OR MAYBE...the signals have been so slight or confused with other pregnancy symptoms that you haven't noticed.


Due to increased hormone levels, some women may experience an outbreak of pimples in the last few days before labor begins.

OR MAYBE... you just ate too much chocolate.

Back Pain

Back pain is a quite common sign of impending labor. In fact sometimes back pain may in fact be contractions.

OR MAYBE... you're just getting back pain from the extra weight and pressure of baby.

Blood Pressure

Often blood pressure may go up in the last one or two days before labor begins.

OR MAYBE... it's an indication of other problems that your doctor will need to check.

Bloody Show

When you wipe, you may notice a brown or red display of blood that means labor is close.

OR MAYBE... it's just a sign that labor is a week or two away.

Braxton Hicks

Although these fake contractions are common after 28 weeks gestation, they often become stronger or feel different shortly before labor begins, and occasionally may even be confused with real contractions.

OR MAYBE... you're just experiencing more braxton hicks than usual.


It's quite common to experience increased crankiness or moodiness in the days or hours before going into labor.

OR MAYBE... you're just having a bad day.




 This is a quite common sign that labor will be    starting soon. The body begins to clean out in  preparation for birth. It can last anywhere from a  few hours up to a week.

 OR MAYBE... you've just picked up a virus or  eaten some slightly off food.

 Dilation & Effacement

 This will need to be checked by a doctor or health care worker, but as labor nears, the cervix both thins (effaces) and dilates (opens up).

OR MAYBE... you're just one of those women who dilates weeks before labor begins (some women can dilate up to ten weeks before birth.)



Some women experience dizziness in the hours before labor begins.

OR MAYBE... you just need to stop doing so much and have a high protein snack.

Easier Breathing

As the baby moves into the birth canal, a woman may find breathing is easier and her chest feels more comfortable.

OR MAYBE... sitting down and taking a break may be helping your breathe easier.

Please note that I am a work at home mum who makes a living writing online. If you're planning to copy this article elsewhere, please take a moment to link back to it. If you are not seeing this article on wizzley.com, it is in breach of copyright and you may be at risk of having a DMCA filed on yourself or the site where it posted. I've had to post this due to the number of people reposting my content without any attribution. Thank you for understanding.


It's not uncommon to experience a burst of energy as the body prepares for labor.

OR MAYBE... that good night's sleep you finally got and a few healthy meals has made you feel a bit better.

Foetal Movement Changes

Often your baby will become more active before labor begins, or in some cases, movement will slow down (if baby stops moving you need to call your hospital.)

OR MAYBE... baby is just having a burst of energy or a lazy day.


Many women experience a feeling of lightness in their upper body as baby moves down into the birth canal. This usually happens a week or more before labor in first time pregnancies and a day or so in later pregnancies.

OR MAYBE... baby is just having fun teasing you!

Losing Weight

It's not unusual to lose several pounds in the last few days before labor starts.

OR MAYBE... you need to weigh yourself at the same time of day, for instance before a meal.

Losing or Gaining Appetite

Often women will find they're either ravenous or feel completely full before labor begins.

OR MAYBE... baby's been squishing your stomach more than usual.

Mucous Plug

The plug of mucous that seals the cervix and helps protect baby from infection may come away in pieces or a single blood streaked glob.

OR MAYBE...you've lost it early due to activity or the baby and it will grow back (yes, a plug can grow back if lost too early.) Some women don't lose their plugs until they begin labor while others lose them days or weeks before.


One of the most commonly talked about signs of impending labor, many women begin cleaning and re-arranging baby items in the days or hours before labor begins.

OR MAYBE... you've been putting it off for awhile and you're doing it because you know you need to stop procrastinating!

Pet Behavior

Animals seem to be very aware of changes in their masters. It's not unusual for dogs or cats to follow around pregnant women like a shadow in the hours before labor begins.

OR MAYBE... your pet is just feeling friendly.


It's not unusual for women about to go into labor to have uncontrollable shakes and shivers, on and off.

OR MAYBE... you just have low blood sugar or need a blanket.


Before going into labor, many women say that experienced the best nights sleep they've had in weeks.

OR MAYBE... you're finally getting used to the huge baby bump (is that possible?)


As labor nears, many women find they have an increase in runny noses due to the higher level of hormones in their body.

OR MAYBE... you're starting to get a cold (and should go see the doctor!)


Although you've probably had swelling in at least your hands or feet in the third trimester, it's not unsual to experience more swelling or even swelling in new places before labor begins - for instance in the lips.

OR MAYBE... you just need to put your feet up more and get your partner to give you some more massages!

Throwing Up or Nausea

It's not unusual to throw up shortly before labor begins as your body tries to clean itself out in preparation for delivery.

OR MAYBE... you just ate too much for dinner or have a stomach bug.

Waters Breaking

This is a sign that many people talk about but is actually not that common - in fact only 10-15% of labors begin with the amniotic sac breaking.

OR MAYBE... your waters can break but if it's a little break, it can actually heal. If you don't start labor within 72-96 hours after a major break, usually you'll be induced.


You may have got a laugh out of this article - or you may have gotten some ideas about what to expect. Either way, the signs before labor begins can be very different for every woman. Let's hope that your signs are the ones you want! 

Updated: 03/29/2015, wrylilt
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db1978 on 02/08/2017

thank you for sharing

Amanda on 11/15/2016

Four weeks before my due date I felt a pop and a gush but wasn't convinced my water broke. My contractions didn't start until a half hour later and just quickly intensified. Less than four hours later we were holding our son.

Cassie on 11/07/2016

Just had baby girl two weeks ago. Right before labor started I had noticed immense back pain and that she was a lot more active than usual. I didn't really think much of the changes, but when I got home that evening and finished up dinner my water broke and it was go time!! Good luck ladies!!

marlie on 10/21/2016

I've been sleeping amazingly. And for 12 hours usually. Then I wake up for a couple hours and end up taking a 2 or three hour nap (again amazing sleep) and repeat. I'm sleeping almost
18 hours a day and always sleep as if it's been weeks. Wish it'd stop. I have a toddler to prepare for baby.

Jessica on 05/23/2016

I have had a huge breakout of acne on my chin, chest and shoulders and been nesting, but instead of the sniffles I've been congested and coughing the last couple days. Definitely been moodier but that may just be due to my neighbors being the worst lol. I am 36+3 today and a week ago during the SBT exam my Dr said I was really soft and squishy but didn't elaborate anymore than that just said everything is looking good for a vbac and hopefully a quick labor and delivery. I'm just praying her daddy will have time to get here before she decides that it is time right at that moment to make her entrance into the world lol.

Danica on 04/30/2016

Well my son decided that he's probably not in any hurry so no lightening and really no other signs except nesting and Braxton hicks and I'm 38 wks and 4 days. So this was helpful list to know what to expect in the next week and a half.

Emmy on 04/17/2016

Whatbif you can't take the pain in then pelvic area and lower back

Summer on 03/04/2016

This sums up how I feel about everything we read about during pregnancy!! It could mean this, orrrr could be nothing....(well which is it?!?!) Haha, glad I'm not the only one who feels this way :)

Chelsea RN on 01/15/2016

But please call your doctor if you think your water has broken!!!! The seal between outside bacteria and baby has been broken, so it's important to assess. Eventually a broken bag becomes an infection risk!

Anna on 11/18/2015

I really enjoyed reading this. I've been having anxiety over the babies pending arrival and haven't been sleeping much. Moodiness has been more noticeable lately and I have the sniffles big time. Shakes on occasion but I'm not sure if that's just low blood sugar. I'm dialated at 1.5cm. So I'm just waiting.

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