How will I know when I go into labor?

Here are a few signs that your labor is starting:

  • You start cramping. When you start, you may feel cramps in your uterus or back. These can feel similar to period cramps. These cramps mean that you are having contractions. The contractions will get more intense and happen more often as you get closer to delivering your baby.
  • You feel “lighter.” When the baby drops to get ready for birth, you may feel something called “lightening.” You may also feel pressure on your vagina or pelvis.
  • Your water breaks. If a lot of fluid starts coming out of your vagina, it’s likely that your water has broken. When this happens, you should call your doctor or midwife.
  • Your discharge changes. When labor begins, you may notice that your vaginal discharge has become stickier, thicker or pink.
Have more questions?
Sources:, The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin with Katie Rohs.