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By Karabo Motsiri Mokoena

Writer. Conversationalist. South African Mommy Blogger,Content Producer

6 signs of labour

All the aches and pains women feel when they are almost due means they might be close to meeting their little one.

After you have reached full-term in your pregnancy, the one thing you will be hoping for is the eviction of that little human. Every expecting mother knows that each day after reaching that point feels like a lifetime. That is why everything that happens to your body after this seems like a sign of labour.

So many women even rush to hospitals on false alarms.

So here is a list of early labour signs every expecting mother should be aware of during the weeks and hours leading up to labour.

Lightening tummy

This is the sign even our grandmothers used to spot that you are almost giving birth. This is when your tummy descends or drops into your pelvis. This is the point that moms start wobbling more than usual.
The baby drops to get ready to exit through the birthing canal as they turn and keep their head on your pelvis.


“I was on a ladder cleaning my windows when my water broke,” one mom shares. Women who are getting ready to give birth have a sudden urge to clean. This is called nesting. Women are suddenly bursting with energy to clean the cupboards, unpack and repack the baby bag and move the furniture around. Just make sure you do not do any heavy lifting while you’re at it. Not every expecting mom experiences this, so don’t think something is wrong with you if you don’t. The same way that nesting is not a basis to immediately rush to the hospital.

Water breaks

Did you know that only about 15% of expecting mothers experience their waters breaking before they go into labour? So if you are part of the 15%, then hooray! If your water does break and you see some brown residue in it, make sure you go to the hospital immediately. There might be meconium in the stool that might be hazardous for your baby if they ingest it.

Losing your mucus plug

This is widely known as ‘show’. The mucus plug is a pink kind of discharge that serves the purpose of blocking the cervix and keeping the baby inside. If the plug drops, this means your body is getting ready to go into labour.

Intensifying contractions

This is the biggest sign of early labour, but could also be the trickiest. A lot of women have rushed to the hospital due to a false alarm. They were experiencing pains, but these were practice contractions called Braxton Hicks. Labour pains are more consistent and intense than Braxton Hicks. You will also note that the pains don’t get any less painful as you change positions, move around or drink water. Braxton Hicks get better with consistent efforts to feel better; walking, changing positions, etc.

Tip: Get a contraction timer on your App Store when you are almost due. It will help you count the length of your contractions and will alert you if you need to go to the hospital.

Urge to go to the bathroom or diarrhoea

A sudden urge to release some stools is a normal occurrence for pregnant mothers. The National Health Services states that this occurs because the baby’s head is sitting on her bowel.

You will also experience sudden diarrhoea. According to What to Expect, this is because the muscles in your rectum are relaxing in preparation of labour.

If you experience anything out of the ordinary, make sure you call your Dr ASAP. They will be able to advise if you are in labour or not.

Also make sure you rush to the hospital should you spot some bleeding, or start swelling and experiencing double vision.

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