14 Ways to Know You’re About to Start Labor


Nearly 40 weeks of pregnancy, with all of its accompanying changes, excitement, and woes, is usually greeted by a strong desire to be finished sooner than later. As the estimated due date approaches, we look for reassurance that pregnancy will not last forever. For most of us, the means to that end is labor and delivery. An Internet search quickly reveals that we are unsatisfied with the traditional list of labor symptoms. Surely, there must be a more definitive answer to determine just when this baby will decide to arrive . . . .

newborn baby yawning

Naturally, one of the most popular questions asked by full-term pregnant women appears to be: What are the early symptoms of labor? As a seasoned birth-giver, I have decided to make a fool-proof list. If you have any of these symptoms, or none, and you are past 37 weeks, you are guaranteed to begin active labor before your baby is born:

  1. You have learned to pick up nearly everything with your toes. Large, round objects get bonus points.
  2. You turn completely sideways to reach the sink or stove.
  3. You’ve knocked over at least one small child with your belly because you couldn’t see him or her.
  4. You’ve had an emotional breakdown in which you’ve loudly insisted that you are not having an emotional breakdown.
  5. You’ve asked someone else to shave your legs or have seriously questioned our culture’s social mandate concerning women’s hygiene.
  6. You have thought or said that the baseboards must be cleaned before the baby comes.
  7. You can see the wisdom of a double bed situation in your master bedroom.
  8. You’ve become stuck behind a piece of furniture while rearranging your home.
  9. Shopping is acceptable exercise at this point.
  10. You can hypnotize people across the room with your baby’s intrauterine movements.
  11. People ask if you’re having multiples.
  12. Someone must have put a sign on your back that reads, “Tell me your scary birth stories.”
  13. People say, “You don’t look pregnant from behind.” (Fun fact: no one has ever been pregnant in the behind.)
  14. People say you are glowing, but you know it’s just sweat.

Tiffany LongTiffany is a homeschooling mother to seven children. She is currently expecting her eighth child and has grown her family through adoption and the old-fashioned method.


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