Did you know that loose stools or diarrhea may be early signs of labor? Well, it actually is.
As you recount your labor story, it won’t be much fun to say that it all started by running to the toilet (among other weird things that happen throughout pregnancy because let’s face it, pregnancy is a unique experience).
Still, one of those less known early labor signs is having loose bowel movements.
If you have been going to the bathroom every so often and wondering how soon after loose bowels did you go into labor, this article is for you.
It helps to be informed of the events leading to the day you pop your little one into this world.
Read on to know the differences in those stomach cramps that can be confusing to soon-to-be-moms.
Early signs of labor
Many signs can be considered early signs of labor, which are not necessarily contractions, and may happen during the last few days or weeks of a normal pregnancy.
If you experience any of the following signs, it doesn’t mean that labor starts immediately; it may still be a few days before you meet your little one.
For example, during the last weeks of pregnancy (although it may happen as early as the late second trimester), most women will experience Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as false labor, as the uterus prepares for actual labor.
Braxton Hicks are not painful contractions, but you’ll feel how your uterus contracts and your belly becomes rigid, and as a result of this preparation for the big day, there may be some effacement or thinning on the cervix, and you may start to dilate.
A medical professional can only identify effacement and dilation when performing a vaginal exam because they have no noticeable symptoms.
As labor approaches, you may also feel how your baby drops, which means that the baby is accommodating its head into the pelvis. Because of this change in the baby’s position, you can expect your abdomen to appear to have lowered.
Other baby dropping signs include pressure in the pelvic area, frequent urination, and backaches.
Another sign is increased vaginal discharge, a normal way for your body to prepare the birth canal with enough lubrication to allow the baby to pass through smoothly.
Don’t confuse vaginal discharge with the mucus plug. Vaginal discharge looks watery and slippery, while the mucus plug is more dense, thick, and yellow and may be tinged with blood.
You may also feel a surge in energy and a need to do things around the house to prepare for the baby’s arrival.
Organizing and washing clothes for the baby and the rest of the family is one of the signs of nesting instinct. If you haven’t prepared your hospital bag, this is also the time to do so.
The nesting instinct is associated with increased estradiol (a female hormone) that sets the mom-to-be in motion and pushes her to have everything ready before they go into labor.
Loose bowel movements are also early signs of labor and part of a normal birthing process.
How soon after loose bowels did you go into labor?
It is believed that women who have experienced pre-labor diarrhea or loose bowel movements have gone into labor within the next 24-48 hours.
There are many reasons why pregnant women can experience diarrhea, and it’s not always signs of labor. Maybe it was caused by something you ate, but if you’re close to your due date, pay attention to the signs of labor your body is giving you.
If you’re not 37 weeks or more advanced in your pregnancy, seek professional medical advice to address your situation and prevent impending labor caused by dehydration before your due date.
Is diarrhea a sign of labor
Diarrhea may be one of the weird signs labor is near. But the fact that there’s something called pre-labor diarrhea may give you the answer to this question.
It is believed that when faced with impending labor, the pregnant body releases pseudo hormones called prostaglandins, a group of compounds with hormone-like effects that promote uterine contractions while dilating and softening the cervix.
Prostaglandins are also present in semen, so that may be why a common, and more fun way, to kickstart labor is by having sex with your partner.
The surge in prostaglandins may trigger frequent bowel movements and diarrhea. It may be because the digestive system gets mixed signals or as a natural way for your body to cleanse in preparation for labor.
Diarrhea may also cause dehydration, which can lead to uterine contractions. That’s one of the reasons why you need to be careful if you get an upset stomach during your pregnancy, because it may trigger labor before it’s time.
You must always stay hydrated if you are suffering from diarrhea or loose stools during pregnancy.
Drink a lot of fluids to restore yourself and if you feel nauseous and can’t keep food down, try sipping some chicken broth to settle your stomach.
Signs of active labor
There’s a difference between early labor and active labor. Early signs help you identify that labor is near; it can be even weeks before the birthing process begins.
However, active labor means you will soon be giving birth.
Hours before labor, you may feel menstrual-like cramps in the lower abdomen that occur every 10 minutes or sooner, and you can identify them because they’re rhythmic.
This means you can track them with a timer, lasting about 30-60 seconds each time.
Labor contractions will become more frequent and painful as labor progresses and usually come and go.
You’ll also feel lower back pain that may come and go or be constant and the distinct feeling of the baby’s head pushing down on your pelvis as they accommodate the outside world.
With or without diarrhea, stomach cramps may occur, and some may feel nauseous.
As labor starts, you may expel the mucus plug, which has acted as a barrier against bacterial infection for you and your baby during the pregnancy, and experience your water breaking.
Water breaking is not always as seen in the movies; sometimes it may be a leak of fluid from the vagina, sometimes it can be a bit more and occur more than once, and sometimes the amniotic fluid will gush out.
Other times, your water won’t break on its own, and a medical professional may need to break it or puncture it to move labor along manually.
When your water breaks, labor contractions may increase in frequency and intensity, so prepare yourself. But the good news is that it’s a sign that you’ll meet your little one sooner than later.
Active labor shouldn’t look like a bloody show. In fact, besides some blood in the mucus plug, there should be no blood at all before the baby comes out. If you notice blood as labor begins, get medical attention right away.
If you or a loved one experiences any of these signs, call your doctor immediately because, although it may be hours before labor ends, those are signs that must not be ignored.
The labor signs mentioned above signify that events can happen in a different order, so this is not a checklist about how labor starts minute by minute but a comprehensive guide of what to expect when labor begins.
Those last few weeks and days before you begin a whole new chapter in your life with your baby can be a combination of excitement and anxiety. So much is happening all at once that it can be overwhelming.
Just remember to take care of your health and pay close attention to any strange signs from your body to determine if it’s time to meet your baby.