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What to Expect During Labor: 6 Common Signs of Labor

You are about to overcome a total of three challenging trimesters — congratulations! Now the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming clearer, and you are getting ready to take on another challenge: labor and delivery.


The first trimester was a period of adjustment and experiencing so many things for the first time. During this stage, you have gotten to know your body and what it’s capable of. It also felt like you were not in control of your body, but you gradually adapted to the changes.


Next came the honeymoon period — the second trimester! It was during this stage when the hormones have calmed down and you have felt well enough to travel, shop, nest, and simply be active. 


Finally, you are in the third trimester! During this stage, you might be feeling a mix of excitement and trepidation, especially towards its end. While it is normal to both anticipate and fear the arrival of your baby, the best thing to do now is to know what to expect during labor and delivery.


At this point, you will find yourself keenly attuned to even the tiniest changes in your body. To know if it’s truly time for your baby to come, here are the 6 signs of labor to watch out for.


6 Common Signs of Labor to Watch Out For

1. You feel more tired than usual.

To be honest, you have been tired since the first week of pregnancy, but you may feel a different kind of tired towards the end of the third trimester. You can attribute this fatigue to your growing belly — and growing discomfort. It may also become increasingly difficult to sleep at night, but try your hardest to rest as much as you can!


2. Your vaginal discharge changes.

If you are observant, you may notice changes in your vaginal discharge. In the weeks or days leading to labor, you may see an increase in both the quantity and thickness of your vaginal discharge. You may also have a pinkish discharge, which is called “bloody show.” This is a pretty good sign that your baby is about to come out!


3. You can feel your baby descending into your pelvis.

If you find yourself waddling like a penguin during the third trimester, that is most probably caused by your baby “dropping” or descending into your pelvis. Also called “lightening,” your baby’s descent into your pelvis means that they are starting to move into position ready for birth. 

With lightening happening, you may also experience an increase in pelvic and rectal pressure as well as urination (again). 


4. You may feel cramps, aches, and diarrhea.

Cramps, aches, and diarrhea are, unfortunately, not exclusive to the first trimester of pregnancy! You may notice the return of these symptoms, especially when you’re nearing labor, due to hormonal changes. You may also experience a dull ache in your lower back. If the ache intensifies instead of fades away, then it is possible that labor is approaching. 


5. Your contractions get stronger and more regular.

You may feel false contractions even in the beginning of your third trimester. Called Braxton Hicks contractions, these are irregular and less intense than true birthing contractions. So how do you know if the contractions you are feeling are the real thing? Here are the signs:


  • The contractions get stronger even when you try to walk or be active.
  • The contractions can be felt in the stomach, lower abdomen, and the lower back and can even be felt in the legs. 
  • The contractions progress and become more intense as they happen more frequently.
  • The contractions fall into a regular pattern which can come at 5 to 10 minutes apart.

6. Your water breaks.

The rupture or breaking of the amniotic sac, which results in the leak of amniotic fluid, is often called the breaking of your water. While this may not happen to every pregnant woman, membrane rupture is a very reliable sign that labor will shortly happen. It is also possible that labor has already begun before your water breaks. 



There are many ways to prepare for labor and delivery. It is vital to continue eating a balanced diet and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. It is also crucial to know what to expect during labor and delivery. Know the real signs of labor so that you can identify them when they happen!

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