Know-how: Pre-labour signs

Are you in labour or pre-labour? Lightening, twinges and tiredness could all be symptoms your body is getting ready for birth

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Are you in labour or pre-labour? Lightening, twinges and tiredness could all be symptoms your body is getting ready for birth

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From day one of pregnancy, your body is beginning to prepare for the birth of your baby. In the last month, most women will experience some of the key signs that labour is now not far away. This point is referred to as ‘pre-labour’, though some women may not notice these signs and ‘jump’ straight into labour.

Full blown labour signs are easy to spot. But before your waters break and contractions begin, there are subtle signs your body is preparing and labour isn’t far away.

What is pre-labour?

Pre-labour is your body letting you know it’s nearly time to have your baby. Signs include, ‘lightening’, as your baby drops into your pelvis, changes in pressure as your baby shifts nearer to birth position, twinges and pain in your belly and feeling increasingly tired. You may notice your weight stabilising as your body feels it has gained enough padding for birth – it may even drop slightly.

You may also feel more sensitive to foods as your body temperature increases slightly, have a funny tummy or feel queasy. Diarrhoea is often reported in the few hours before labour begins.

Braxton Hicks

Some women have Braxton Hicks for weeks before the birth, and even earlier in pregnancy. AS birth draws closer, these may become more frequent and feel more painful, even though they are still not the real deal.

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Read more of our pregnancy articles on the pregnancy listings page.

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