Your doctor gives you a due date when you first get pregnant and start with your prenatal care. Whenever people ask you when you are due, you give them the date. But there is no guarantee that you will go into labor on that particular date. You are supposed to be in labor around that time but it can be a few days earlier or a few days later. Prediction of the due date is a rough estimate as it is difficult to pin down the exact time of conception. Your body will start to prepare itself for going into labor way before it happens. Watch out for these signs to know that your due date is arriving.
Braxton Hicks contractions
These are named after the English doctor, John Braxton Hicks, who first described them in 1872. During your pregnancy, you may feel your tummy contracting for some time and then relaxing. This starts to happen from the mid-pregnancy and is thought of as practice contractions. As the due date approaches near, these contractions grow powerful and could be mistaken for the start of labor. Although they are strong and painful, they do not last for very long and are irregular in occurrence.
The baby gets into the birthing position
During the pregnancy, the baby moves around a lot inside the womb, floating in the bag of liquid. However, at some point in the late pregnancy, the baby settles in a comfortable position for birth. There are a few different birthing positions but the most common of all is head down with baby’s back facing outwards. Not all babies settle themselves in this position.
You may have a ‘show’
A small plug of jelly is blocking the entrance to your cervix, i.e., the neck of your womb, while you are pregnant. As the cervix gets ready for birth, it stretches and this plug of jelly starts to come away. You may notice it on your underwear. It may be pinkish or may even have streaks of blood in it. This is called a ‘show’. It can happen days or even weeks before the start of labor or might not happen at all until you go into labor.
The joints loosen
The relaxin hormone loosens and softens the ligaments during pregnancy. This is why before you go into labor, your joints may feel a bit looser.
As all the muscles in your body relax in preparation for going into the labor, including those in the rectum too, it can lead to loose motions. It is normal to happen, and it is a good sign. So, stay hydrated and stay prepared.