What does it feel like before going into labour?
We know there are physical changes when labour starts - but what about the emotional changes that can happen? From feeling chatty to getting that 'nesting' urge, we find out about some of the mental changes that happen before labour from mums on our forum...
A hot topic on our forum right now is what it feels like before going into labour. And we're not talking so much about the physical stuff, more the emotional changes that happen (if any).
From the comments we've read, it’s clear that the lead-up to labour is as unique and individual as you and your babies.
However, many of our mums have mentioned symptoms/emotions like:
- feeling chatty
- going quiet
- getting a bit panicky
- wanting to 'nest'
- before labour. Here's a bit more about those changes that happened for our mums...
1. Feeling quiet before labour
If you're usually a bit of a chatterer and suddenly you go a lot quieter - could it be a sign you're going into labour?
One of our mums, jellyfishpink, tells us she had a vey quick labour before her daughter Lily came, but that, during the day before she gave birth, she didn't have a lot to say:
"During the day though I was very quiet (according to my mum) and I felt OK, quite calm, a little back ache but that was all. I was not expecting to go to bed and wake up with a baby the next morning!"
2. Feeling chatty before labour
Unlike jellyfishpink who went all quiet during labour, quite a few of our mums said they went into overdrive wanting to talk when they went into labour.
SamanthaJ23 reveals: "I got really tired, but when I went to bed I couldn't sleep, sat up all night chatting...I think everyone is different." (We definitely agree with that!)
3. Feeling sleepy before labour
If you can get a bit of shut-eye in before the whirlwind of having a new baby - so much the better! Arg found she was able to get a really good rest, telling us:
"Had a lovely morning walking around the house (it was a home birth), phoning friends etc - then had a wonderful sleep for an hour or so before I had a massive gush in the study as I stood up at about 2.30am."
4. Feeling like you want to 'nest' before labour
We know it's a bit of a classic old wives' tale to get the 'nesting' instinct before having a baby - but for one of our mums it was a reality.
Sam Fellows told us: "I’m wondering if this little one is planning on making her appearance in the next few days.
"I’ve been like the devil possessed, having continuous hot flushes. Spring-cleaned the house several times this week, having continuous Braxton Hicks."
5. Feeling the same as usual before labour
Sometimes, it seems, going into labour doesn't actually make any difference to your mental / emotional state at all - which, itself, could lead to worry (though there really is no need to panic).
"I felt totally normal," Baby_B tells us. "Only a few hours before I went into labour I was crying to OH that I had had no signs at all and was worried I'd end up having to be induced."
And jewsora had a similar experience: "Absolutely fine - was actually in the pub with hubby!! I was 38+2 and had no twinges so no reason to suspect I'd have any issues that night!!" As it was, jewsora's daughter came in the early hours of that day.
6. Feeling in denial before labour
Of course, the days up to your due date / waiting for labour can make you a bit anxious, especially if it's your first pregnancy.
Perhaps that's why, for some people, trying to forget it's actually about to happen is a pretty appealing option. Pen-372397 on our forum said:
"It is hard with your first baby to know if it's labour. My mum said all along that with my first I was in early labour with my back ache - but I think I was in denial."
What are the ‘standard’ physical signs that labour is coming?
In addition to a wave of emotions, like the ones described above, the sure-fire physical signs include:
- strong, regular contractions
- the passing of mucus (known as a ‘show’)
- waters breaking.
But you never know: you might just get one or more of these emotional symptoms, too!
Though, we’ll give the final word to one of the wise mums on our forum, Kazzie M, who reminds us: "Every pregnancy is different and the signs of labour will not always be the same: nobody knows your body better than you."
Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015
Six big family moments that matter – and the products that make them easier to navigate
These products from John Lewis & Partners help support the memorable moments of family life.