There are many symptoms and signs of labor. Even so, it can sometimes be difficult to know when exactly labor is beginning or about to begin. To be ready for labor, you need to be in tune with your body, and feel for changes in your body as you get closer and closer to labor. Among other things, nausea can even be a sign of labor.
The labor process is a strain on your body. Sometimes, before labor begins, your body knows that something big is about to happen. Your body may decide to empty your stomach contents, through diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. It may be that the anxiety or fear of the labor process, especially for first-time mothers, causes your stomach to produce extra digestive acids, which can also lead to nausea. Nausea late in pregnancy can also be caused by many other things, such as dehydration, a mild case of food poisoning, or even motion sickness. Nausea alone is not necessarily a reliable sign of labor. To know if your nausea is a sign of labor, it should be accompanied by other symptoms.
An increase in vaginal discharge is one other sign of labor that you should watch for in addition to nausea. Often, you will have a “bloody show” – an increase in clear mucus, which may or may not be slightly brownish or pinkish in color. You might also lose your mucus plug. This increase in vaginal discharge can happen up to a few days before labor, or it may not begin until contractions do.
As you get closer to delivery, your baby will also move down into your pelvis. This is sometimes referred to as your baby dropping, or as “lightening.” You should notice that you will be able to breathe easier, but you may find that you have more and more pressure on your bladder. Lightening can happen several weeks or several hors before labor begins.
Contractions are, of course, the most noticeable sign of labor. If you have nausea and begin having contractions, you are likely going into labor. It is important to distinguish true labor from false labor. In true labor, your contractions will happen at regular intervals. They will get closer and closer together. The time between contractions will continue to grow shorter. You will feel true contractions in your abdomen and in your back.
While nausea can be a sign of labor, it can also be a sign of something else. Nausea should generally be accompanied by other signs to be certain whether or not you are actually starting labor.