Early Signs Of Labor: Cramps, Pelvic Pressure and Oh, My Aching Back!

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Well, I made it all the way to 37 weeks with this little girl crowding my insides, I am SO ready for her to make her grand debut already! The other night, I was cramping on and off, sort of a menstrual cramp type feeling. I didn’t sleep the whole night and even started feeling intensified pelvic pressure and low, dull back aches. Come morning, I was feeling better but still had small remnants of these symptoms throughout the day.

Could it be signs of labor? I didn’t know, thought it might be, but it turned out not to be. I don’t remember having these symptoms with MJ until I was in the hospital in active labor. The same thing happened last night, so I decided to do a little digging to see what it could mean… Pre-Labor! Apparently, the body is practicing and preparing for birth. Hopefully this means that my darling daughter will be here in a few days! Here’s what I found out:


Signs Of Early Labor That I Am Experiencing


Menstrual-Like Cramping / Contractions- Happened all night, two nights in a row. On and off, no real pattern. Not extremely painful, but they were uncomfortable enough to keep me awake. If it were the real thing, there would have been a constant pattern and contractions would have gotten stronger no matter how hard I tried to get comfortable. Must have been those darn Braxton-Hicks.
Lightening or Dropping of the Baby – Baby “drops” or sits lower in the pelvis in preparation for birth. I feel it and my doc confirmed it.

Increased Pelvic Pressure – From the dropping of the baby. I feel more and more pressure on my pelvis, almost as if the baby is going to fall out, especially when I stand up.
Frequent Urination or Bowel Movements (or the urge) – I felt like I had to do it all every 2-3 hours! As the baby descends further into your pelvic region, the bladder and bowels are compressed even more, enough said. Oh, and gas too. TMI?
Diarrhea, Indigestion, Nausea and Vomiting – I had the first 3, but did not vomit. More on and off symptoms that are usually accompanied by cramping. Joy.
Low, Dull Backaches -  They have been coming on and off. Normally my back hurts a little by the end of the day. Feels like tired muscles, but once I lay down, I am just fine. These new back pains feel different, sit lower and come at anytime.
Effacement and Dilation – At my last visit, my doctor checked my cervix and said that I was 1 cm. dilated! I started cramping and having the above symptoms after that appointment, so maybe I  have progressed since then. We shall see! One centimeter is just the beginning, but a sign that labor is on the way soon. Effacement is the thinning of the cervix, while dilation is the opening of the cervix.
Nesting – The sudden urge to want to clean, organize and prepare for baby’s arrival. I think I have been nesting for the past couple of months!

Other Signs Of Labor to Watch For (hoping these will come soon)

Loss of the Mucus Plug – Also known as the bloody show. This is a string of mucus or discharge that once blocked your cervix, preventing bacteria from entering. Can be clear, pink or bloody and appears before labor (ranging from a few minutes to days). Not all women see this, I did when I had MJ.
Water Breaks – We all know this sign! Too bad it only happens to 10% of women before true labor begins. It can be a gush of fluids or a small trickle. Many women have their water broken for them. If you are in that lucky 10%, this is a sure sign that labor is on the way for you. Time to head on over to the hospital!

Okay, so I am no doctor, I had a little help… Based upon what I was feeling, I looked around and found these early labor symptoms online that were published by trusted websites with real docs as writers.

Sources:
AmericanPregnancy.org
WebMD.com
March of Dimes 
Babycenter.com

I hope that my predictions and research stand true and that labor is around the corner! I really hope to meet our princess in the coming days. MOMS- were there any other symptoms that you remember experiencing just before you went into labor? Please share, I will be on the lookout!

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