Early Signs of Labor Pains in Pregnancy

Check out various early signs of labor pains in pregnancy occurring in the third trimester. Learn about the symptoms of the end weeks or 37, 38 weeks when the impending childbirth makes itself known due to contractions among other pre-delivery signals.

Signs of labor pains

When the end of pregnancy is near the mother starts to get a little tired of it and looks forward to its resolution. Every change now is perceived with hope. It seems that this is exactly the birthing moment. However, this is not always true. Sometimes a woman oversleeps or there is intense pain and yet there is time for her childbirth.

Many expectant mothers wake up their relatives at night or summon their husbands from important meetings, mistakenly assuming that this day will be the birthday of their baby. Let’s try to figure out how to react to this phenomenon which will soon visit you for sure.

First, we need to learn about the early signs of labor pains in pregnancy. They begin to appear in the third trimester of pregnancy, among them some indicate the approaching birth.

Signs and Symptoms in Third Trimester

Some phenomena that may disturb a woman in the third trimester are caused by the growth of the fetus and uterus. They can arise at any time and are not signs of the onset of labor. Some of these signs are as follows.

  1. Heartburn
  2. Since the size of the uterus is already very large, it presses on the gallbladder.

    Heart Burns

    In addition, the production of bile increases under the influence of pregnancy hormones.

    All this leads to the fact that bile is thrown from the duodenum into the stomach thereby causing heartburns.

  3. Constipation
  4. Hormones of pregnancy lead the uterus into a relaxed state to allow the fetus to grow and develop.

    These hormones also act on the intestines, which reduces their activity. This is the reason for the appearance of constipation.

  5. Pain of Varicose Veins
  6. Varicose veins of the lower extremities and veins of the rectum are in pain.

    Lower Back Pain

    In the third trimester of pregnancy, rapid fatigue of the legs, convulsions at night, a feeling of heaviness, a pruritus are common. Sometimes the swelling of the feet or you may even notice on your feet vascular asterisks or blue protruding “worms.”

    Under the influence of pregnancy hormones, the vein wall framework is softened, and veins are easily altered. The growing uterus, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy, can squeeze veins and prevent the outflow of blood from the legs.

    In connection with the increase in the body’s blood volume and increased blood flow during this period, the load on the veins increases. For these reasons, their hyperextension occurs.

    Frequent constipation, as well as worsening of outflow of blood through the veins of the rectum can lead to the expansion of hemorrhoidal veins.

  7. Pain in Legs
  8. Pain in the legs can be associated not only with varicose veins but also with a lack of calcium.

    In this case, the pains are spastic, they can appear at night.

    Many patients say that they have leg pain since the fetus is particularly active in the third trimester of pregnancy. Also, the mass of its bones and muscles is rapidly increasing.

    It is at this time that pain for the first time may appear in the legs.

  9. Soreness on Fetal Movements
  10. At the end of pregnancy, the baby grows fast enough, occupying the entire abdominal cavity. By 40 weeks of pregnancy, its weight reaches an average of 3-4 kg, and height is about 50 cm.

    Soreness on Fetal Movement

    The baby can no longer move freely in the uterus, so at the end of pregnancy, the number of movements decreases. However, the force with which the baby is pushing affects the uterus and adjacent organs. Therefore, the wiggling of the fetus in the third trimester can be quite painful.

    Soreness when moving can be felt in the right or left hypochondrium area.

    It often happens when the fetus is in the head presentation, that is, its head is directed towards the exit from the small pelvis, and the legs hit the liver region and then into the stomach area of the mother.

  11. Itching on Abdomen Skin
  12. This sensation is explained by the fact that the growing uterus stretches the skin of the abdomen.

  13. Dyspnea
  14. Due to the fact that the growing womb lifts up the diaphragm, the pregnant woman becomes hard to breathe even after a little physical exertion.

  15. Bleeding Nose and Gums
  16. Bloody discharge from the nose or bleeding gums is common as well.

    Teeth Pain

    Gum bleeding is associated with the occurrence of gingivitis of pregnant women (inflammation of the gums), which occurs by the action of hormones.

    During this period there is an increased formation and spread of dental plaque, which leads to the rapid formation of calculus that provokes bleeding gums.

    Bleeding from the nose is also caused by changes in blood circulation, which occurs due to hormonal changes in the body.

  17. Frequent Urination
  18. Frequent urination arises because the uterus occupies an increasing part of the abdominal cavity and the bladder cannot accommodate a large volume of fluid.

  19. Swelling of Legs and Feet
  20. Foot Swelling

    Swelling of feet and legs is estimated as dropsy of pregnant women, in which water accumulates in the tissues of the lower limbs.

    Such a symptom requires a doctor’s consultation, changes in the drinking regime (fluid restriction), and sometimes the taking of certain medications.

  21. Pain in Lumbar Region
  22. Pain in the lumbar region and pubic articulation (in the pubic area).

    These unpleasant sensations are caused by the softening of the ligaments caused by the peculiarities of the hormonal background of pregnant women.

Signs of Labor Pain in Pregnancy

Now let us list those phenomena that are the forerunners of childbirth, but do not allow to determine exactly the time of their onset.

  1. Braxton-Hicks Contraction
  2. Contraction

    Braxton-Hicks contractions are about false bouts, which prepare the body of a pregnant woman for the forthcoming birth.

    During them, the uterus strains, acquiring a “stone” density, while the future mother does not experience any unpleasant sensations.

    Such fights are irregular, they help soften the cervix, prepare it for childbirth, but do not cause it to open.

  3. Departure of Mucous Plug
  4. The departure of the mucous plug in the cervical canal there is mucus produced by the glands of the cervix. It can be excreted 1-2 weeks before the birth and may be immediately before childbirth.

    Departure of Mucus Plug

    The amount of this mucus is about 20 ml, it is clear, colorless, sometimes with veins of blood.

    Mucus, located in the cervical canal, together with other factors protects the fetus from infection, but after its retreat along the path of infection, there remains another reliable barrier as the fetal membranes.

    The departure of mucus requires seeking medical help only if it occurred earlier than 2 weeks before the expected date of delivery.

  5. Fall of Abdomen
  6. During the first pregnancy, the abdomen may fall before delivery.

    Stomach Fall

    This happens if the fetus is in the head preposition and its head is pressed against the bones of the pelvis.

    It becomes easier for a future mother to breathe, and the doctor can measure the height of the bottom of the uterus from the pubic articulation to the highest point of the uterus, and note that this value has decreased.

    So, if at 38 weeks the height of standing of the bottom of the uterus can be 40 cm, then before birth – 38 cm.

  7. Decrease in Body Weight
  8. A few weeks before the birth of the future mother may deteriorate appetite before labor is rebuilt the work of the endocrine system.

    If throughout the pregnancy, progesterone, which promotes fluid retention in tissues, ensures its preservation, then before birth, the effect of estrogen increases. This all also leads to a decrease in body weight.

  9. Instinct of Nesting
  10. “Instinct of nesting” is a kind of psychological sign of the approaching baby.

    Baby Movement

    Before the very birth, the expectant mother strives to limit contacts with friends and acquaintances. She is always at home, where she chooses a cozy corner for herself.

    To this state, mixed feelings are added. On the one hand, the desire for an early resolution of pregnancy, and on the other the fears of birth pain and anxiety before relative uncertainty.

The above phenomena do not require emergency measures and immediate medical attention. However, if you have any doubts, consult a doctor. Do not consider reinsurance and treatment in the maternity hospital.

Signs of Childbirth Beginning

Now let’s talk about those symptoms, at the appearance of which you should go to the hospital.

  1. Contractions
  2. Contractions are the most frequent variant of the onset of labor. Skirmishes are called regular contractions of the uterus, accompanied by pulling pains in the lower abdomen and (or) in the lower back.

    signs of labor

    At first, the fights are weak, lasting several seconds, and the interval between them is 10-12 minutes.

    Sometimes the contractions begin at once every 5-6 minutes, but they are not yet very strong.

    Gradually fights become more frequent, strong, long, and painful.

    If you are sure that you can reach the maternity hospital within 1 hour, then it’s better to go to the maternity ward when the contractions are 1 time in 10 minutes.

  3. Amniotic Fluid Discharge
  4. Another option for the onset of labor is the discharge of amniotic fluid or their leakage in small portions.

    In this case, it is no longer necessary to wait for the beginning of labor, and it is necessary to immediately go to the hospital.

    Since the longer anhydrous interval, the more likely the complicated course of labor, the penetration of the infection into the uterus and to the fetus.

Time for Hospital

If you went to the hospital at the end of the third trimester you may see the following occurrences.

When the fact of the onset of labor is indisputable, that is, regular generic activity is detected, there is a greater or lesser opening of the cervix. The amniotic fluid has flowed, then the outcome of the events is one. In the near future (maximum within 24 hours) the baby will be born.


If a woman feels irregular pain in the lower abdomen, not accompanied by tension in the muscles of the uterus, and the fluid flows from the vagina, which after lab tests is cervical mucus, not water, then such a patient is observed in the maternity ward.

The observation can last from 2 to 12 hours and include examinations of the obstetrician-gynecologist, sampling of the tests (blood from the vein, from the finger, urinalysis), observation of the fetal heartbeat. If, as a result of observation, it becomes clear that there is no labor activity, then further tactics depend on the gestational age and on the condition of the fetus and mum.

If the pregnancy is up to 40 weeks and the results of observation and examination are successful, the pregnant woman can be discharged home. If the pregnancy is more than 40 weeks and/or negative results of the observation, the patient is transferred to the department of pregnancy pathology, where they determine the further tactics of pregnancy management. Most often, in this case, a woman is prepared for childbirth.

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Early Signs of Labor Pains in Pregnancy