If you are in your third trimester of pregnancy, you may be wondering every time you feel something new if it’s pregnancy labor or something else. Many women think they won’t know when it actually starts but you can rest assured that there is no other feeling like that of pregnancy labor.

Pregnancy labor is often mistaken for what is known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions can be uncomfortable but they are not strong enough to actually make you go into labor. Braxton Hicks contractions can happen early in your pregnancy and then progress and get stronger as the pregnancy gets into the later weeks. These contractions are just practice for the real thing and most women experience them. They are just a way to condition your uterus and the muscles around it for the actual pregnancy labor that will deliver the baby.

Conditions must be right for a woman to go into pregnancy labor. There are a few signs that will help you to know when the time is nearing.

The baby must descend into the birth canal before anything really starts to happen. This is called lightening. It can happen a few hours before labor or as far out as a few weeks before the actual pregnancy labor will begin. Urinating becomes more frequent due to the fact that the uterus is now resting on your bladder.

Losing the mucus plug is also a good sign to watch out for to know when pregnancy labor is going to begin. The cervix will start to open up and the mucus that has been accumulating at the opening during the entire pregnancy will let loose and come out through the vagina. It can be a variety of shades of red or pink possibly mixed with a little blood. Sometimes it is even clear if there is no blood present.

Pregnancy labor is also accompanied with pain in the lower back normally caused by contractions. Because the abdomen is getting hard and then becoming soft with the real labor contractions it will automatically affect the back as well. It can be a dulling pain or just an aggravating ache that stretches from your lower back to the front of your abdomen. The intensity of real pregnancy labor contractions will be different from one woman to the next. A lot of this is also due to a woman’s tolerance for pain. While one woman may think the pain is unbearable, another woman may think it wasn’t near as bad as she had anticipated.

When real pregnancy labor begins, the contractions will start at the top of the abdomen and move in a wave like motion to the bottom. You will know they are the real thing and not a Braxton Hicks contraction because they will continue to increase in intensity and won’t stop simply by changing your position or moving around. Different breathing techniques will help you to get through the stronger contractions when the real pregnancy labor begins.

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