7 Subtle signs of labour

So you have been preparing for the new arrival for 9 months now and you are looking forward to holding your baby in your arms. Labour starts in many ways for different women, some women won’t feel any contractions until their waters break and some women’s waters don’t break until they are deep into their labour! Would you know if you were experiencing these 7 subtle signs of labour?

Some women notice contractions right from the beginning before they have even started to dilate much and some won’t notice their contractions until they are 6-7 cm dilated or more, so what are the subtle signs of labour that some mums have reported experiencing? This list of 7 subtle signs of labour will give you an idea of what to look out for.

Loose bowel movements.

Have you noticed that your poop has been softer, runnier than usual over the past couple of days? Chances are, if you are around your due date and you haven’t eaten anything that could be upsetting your stomach, this could be a sign that early labour has begun or is about to begin.

Mild Period like pain in your lower abdomen

These cramps are fairly common throughout pregnancy anyway but they may get more frequent in the run up to labour and when early labour has begun. If you have been having these mild pains on and off but the don’t get progressively more intense over the hours then it’s not likely to be true labour.

A strange feeling

Some women have reported having a strange feeling that they were going to go into labour- right before they did! It’s like an instinct, a bizarre feeling that a woman can’t quite make sense of. You may feel that you need to stay at home or get an overwhelming feeling that you don’t want your partner to go to work that day ‘just in case’. Other women have reported doing things like checking their hospital bag over and over or making sure the car seat has been fitted correctly. This is also a form of nesting which is detailed below.


Nesting is a phenomenon that has been described by some women in the  hours leading up to labour where they get an unexplained urged to make sure everything is in place for the new arrival. They may find themselves cleaning the house from top to bottom, washing and ironing the baby’s clothes over and over or performing other cleaning and preparation tasks that they would never usually do.

A ‘heavy feeling’ down there

As the head has settled into the pelvis and the uterus starts to prepare for labour, some women feeling a heavy pressure in the pubic region. This is different from the ‘dropping’ that may have occurred a few weeks earlier when the head has engaged. This is actually the lower segment of the uterus starting to squeeze (contract) a little. Some women describe this as a heaviness or pressure whilst others may describe is as cramping. Whilst the lower segment of the uterus gets going, the upper segment also needs to start working together to be able to provide strong, in sync contractions.


So you are at the end of your pregnancy and it’s likely that you are a little bit fed up but you may find that suddenly everything and anything starts to wind you up. You may suddenly have road rage you never thought you would have or lash out and your other half for not replacing the toothpaste lid. Any sudden mood changes at the end of your pregnancy could mean labour is imminent.

Lack of appetite

The digestive system slows down when you go into labour as all the body’s energy is required for the uterus to work efficiently. You may find that a sudden reduction in appetite could mean you are going into labour.


We would love to hear your story! What were your clues prior to going into labour? Leave us a comment below