8 Signs of Labor

Having a baby can be one of the most thrilling experiences for women. Bringing a new life into the world after nine months of pregnancy is an amazing miracle, but it can also be overwhelming trying to understand how the process works. There’s a lot of information out there to help you know what to expect, but each person’s experience is a little different. As your due date draws ever closer, you’re likely to hear all kinds of stories from all kinds of people about what you should be watching for to know that the time has come to bring your new little one into the world.

If you’re a first-timer, you have little to go on and your lack of experience and familiarity can leave you feeling frazzled as you look for all the right answers to know when you should stay home and when you should head to the hospital. If you’ve had other pregnancies, you may still be unsure, because each pregnancy and delivery is unique. Understanding these signs can be a huge help for any mom-to-be, so below is a list of eight labor signs that will help you know when your delivery is really on the way.

1. Cervix Dilates

The cervix is the opening of your uterus and is the doorway for your little one to be born. While you’re pregnant, your cervix will undergo a variety of changes in connection with your pregnancy. It’ll also stay closed to help protect the growing baby by blocking bacteria and other things so that unwanted and potentially hazardous materials can’t enter your uterus. As your delivery date approaches, your cervix dilates, opening up in order to make room for the baby to leave the birth canal and come into the world.

As your cervix dilates, it goes through a process in connection with your contractions. You’ll be considered in the dilation phase when you hit 1cm, and you’ll continue until you reach 10cm. From time to time, your health care provider will check to see how far you’ve dilated. Once you’ve reached the full 10cm, your body now has enough room to let the baby exit your uterus. As this stage nears, you’ll begin to feel the urge to push, but it’s important to wait until you’re fully dilated. Dilation can be checked during a medical exam whether at a routine visit or while in active labor.