Am I Close to Delivery - or Am I Just Getting My Hopes Up

Updated on March 07, 2008
K.M. asks from Portland, OR
13 answers


I am pregnant with my second child and my due date is March 14th. I've been having contractions off an on since Thursday 2/28. I actually went to the hospital once because I had been having contractions for 2 hours that were 5 minutes apart - they were actually painful. Of course, as soon as I got there the contractions started slowing down and eventually stopped.

Another detail I'd like to share (I don't want to gross out anyone) is that I've had 16 bowel movements since Thursday 2/28. I just keep going. Now everything I've read and been told says that my body is flushing itself out in preparation for the baby.

I've been keeping my fingers crossed that he will come soon. Also, I had contractions last night and the night before...always regular...always painful lasting for a couple of hours and then finally stopping. I also have menstrual like cramps through out the day.

I'm hoping that I go into labor soon because I am exhausted. I have a 16 month old that I chase around all day. I know it will be harder with two, but I'm not sleeping very well and the pregnancy is just wearing me out now.

I guess my question has two parts:

1) Does it sound like I may go into labor soon?
2) Does anyone know if there is an average length for second pregnancies?

My first son was born on his due date but that's only because the Dr. in my OB exam stripped my membranes without asking me and it broke my water - I had to be induced and from the time my water was broken until he was born was 47 hours. I also had to push for 4 hours. Obviously, I'm hoping for any easier labor this time around.

Thanks in advance for all the help and advice :)

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So What Happened?

I'd like to thank all of you for your thoughtful responses and words of encouragement. Andrew has still not arrived. Yesterday I started having contractions at 4pm that were 5 minutes apart. They got a little stronger with time and I had the contractions until 11pm. I was sure I was in labor...I mean after 7 hours who wouldn't? Well, the contractions stopped just after 11pm and it was a huge letdown for me. I've been walking and drinking a lot of water hoping that will help him come out faster.

Thanks again for all the support - I'll be sure and post again as soon as he's born :)

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

It sounds as though you're very close. I had pretty intense contractions for 2 weeks (between 1 and 4 per hour) before my second child was born. Then when she came it only took an hour. So just be aware that your body is preparing to give birth and that it might be FAST when it finally actually happens.

My first child was born 2 days after the due date and my second was born 6 days after the due date. Early babies run in my family, but I guess my babies tend to be later.

Just remember that every contraction (even when they are far apart or starting and stopping) is getting you closer to giving birth! My prodromal labor (the 2-week starting and stopping and intermittent contractions) got me all the way to almost 6 centimeters dilated before I went into active labor :)

Best wishes!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on


It sounds to me like you're in some type of labor. Both of mine wound up being c-section, so I may not be an expert here. I also have a high pain tolerance, so with my first I dialated to 6cm at home, and only felt like I was having bad cramps. With my second, as they were prepping me for the planned C my doctors told me that I was having contractions. I didn't feel a thing.

I do suggest seeing if there is someone nearby that would be willing to take your older child for a while so you can get some rest. Good luck, two are fun :)

Hope this helps,
BTW, my second will turn one on the 13th. ;-)



answers from Portland on

Usually, second babies come sooner and faster than first because your body knows what to do.

In answer to your question, yes, it sounds like your body is very close to labor, but not quite in labor yet. I'd say for sure in the next few days. If you would like to safely speed things up, there are a few things you can do that will not do anything unless you are ready to go anyway. (Nipple stimulation and sex) If you are very tired, your body may be trying to hold off until you can relax and get some sleep. I know it sounds weird, but most women go into labor at night because they finally settle down and relax. Get a babysitter, enjoy hubby for an evening and go to bed early.

Just a word of warning, when women have contractions like yours for days before labor, they are often dilating slowly and are suprised that they are 7cm when "labor" starts. Be careful not to get yourself into a position where you can't be to the hosptial within 30 minutes if you need to, and go right away if your water breaks.

Good luck!



answers from Anchorage on

Sounds like what I just went through 4 weeks ago with my 2nd pregnancy!! :( You are living through hell right now, and I feel so bad for you!! I had the same symptoms, and couldnt sleep, couldnt stand, sit nothing, everything HURT!! I was dilated to 4 cm's for about a week (about 2 weeks before my due date), and when I went into the hospital (a week before I was due) and said I had had enough of the torture of cramps, and contractions on and off (they wouldnt ever get regular) that I was DONE!! And, I was in tears from being so frustrated from it all... So, they checked me and I was dilated to 6 cms, but not in active labor. :( They broke my water, which started some contractions, but then again like usual they stopped... Then they started some pitocin, and it was like "jumper cables" they said to get my body back in gear. They left it on for about 45 minutes then let me off of it and my body took over from there. So, if nothing is happening except just on and off contractions maybe this will work... I asked my ob about "average" lengths, or if it would be like my 1st pregnancy and she said if this was my 3rd pregnancy and the first 2 were the same she could say I had a chance of the same thing happening again. But, every pregnancy is different!! To give you hope though, the time it took to go from 6-10 cms was only about 45 mins, and my pushing only took 10 minutes!! It was SO much shorter and you know HOW to push so it makes it much better. Just make sure to drink LOTS of water, walk around and change positions a lot... I hope this gives you some help. Its just crazy that our symptoms sound so much the same, and it was my 2nd pregnancy too!! GOOD LUCK!!!


answers from Seattle on

Congrats!! I went through the same thing with my second i had been induced the first time around so i had no idea what to expect. I went to the hospital several times, it was usually during a football game so my husband was getting sort of oh brother with me. Anyways finally when every thing came to a close i lost my plug two days before my due date and then the morning of my due date at like six am i went to the bathroom had a really bad cramp and all this jelly like stuff came wasnt my water breaking i forget what my ob said it was but when i went for my last check up that morning i hadnt had any real bad contractions my ob took one look at me and say what are you doing here you should be in labor and delivery i was like what???? and then when i got over there and settled thats when they started coming oh the wasnt at all what i had expected. It sounds like you are on your road there if it hasnt happened yet! good luck and congrats!!



answers from Eugene on

My second labor was longer. I felt like I was in labor for weeks. I would have contractions all night then nothing for days. I was so uncomfortable and had so much pressure. That went on for about two weeks. But, the birth was much easier. He came out in just a few pushes and it was not nearly as painful as when my first was born

So to answer your question, Yes it sounds like you are getting close but how close only your baby knows.

I think what finally put me in labor was sex. My sister-in-law took our oldest for the day and we did it a bunch, a few hours after that I was so in labor that I had to call our midwife.

Congratulations on you new babe, it is so much fun with two, they make each other laugh and I feel like my heart will burst watching it. Hope this was helpful and best wishes to you and your family.



answers from Seattle on

Hi K., It sounds like you are in early labor. My OB told me each labor is "generally" half the time of the previous one. Sounds like your first wasn't quite ready though so you never know. Your body knows better what to do the second time around though. If it was me I'd find a friend to watch my 16 mo. old for the day and take a really good long nap today! Blessings on this delivery. Get some sleep if you can :)



answers from Seattle on

There are so many things that you notice with the second pregnancy because you know what it feels like and especially if you're ready for it to end (I understand that feeling!), you may be getting your hopes up. See what the doctor says about what you're feeling.

I felt contractions with #2 often too. She was breech so I got a much easier labor (none!) then 27 hours with the first one! But I showed no signs of going into labor even a week before when I went in for the c-section. They say second babies usually come earlier than firsts but mine didn't seem to be following that rule.

Good luck either way, just have fun with your oldest while you still can, I wished I had done more alone with her before her sister was here. And I miss sleeping in with her, not having to wake up in the middle of the night! Two is much harder than one so slow down and enjoy what you've got(and shower while you can) while there's still some sanity!



answers from Spokane on

I went through the same thing with my second daughter, mine are 14 mo apart so I know how you feel chasing your son. It sounds like your body is definetly preparing for the baby the only thing is your body can do this kind of thing for a week or more...ugggg. I know there are all sorts fo things out there to get things going and make progression faster but the one I found worked with both of my girls was to have sex. I know it sounds gross and some women hate the thought but within a few hours of doing the deed I was in active labor with my girls. I did it mostly because I was like you and I had been getting contractions on and off and I was so TIRED. With my second, my labor started but then slowed down so we did it again and things sped right up. Hope this helps and hope you get to meet your litle guy soon:)



answers from Portland on

The definitive answer is maybe - or maybe not. The last weeks of pregnancy are often helped with some surrender and patience on your part as to when thing will actually begin. You could actually do this for weeks, unfortunately which could drive you crazy. Getting busy with other projects - and with your 16 month old that should be easy. It may help take your mind off it. While it's less likely in a second pregnancy to go past your due date, it's possible. Trying to nap during the day, if you're home, will help your sleep loss at night.




answers from Seattle on

Bless your heart, these final days/weeks of pregnancy are soooo hard! Hopefully you'll be in the delivery room very soon, if not already!

I could have practically written your question 1 1/2 years ago, when I was waiting for my daughter to arrive and my son was 16 months old! I had "labor" daily starting from 36 weeks, and thought constantly that it would be "it" any time. What happened with me, although everyone is different and I'm not saying this will be the case with you, is that I dilated slowly over the course of over a month. I was sent home at 4 days overdue, 4 cm dilated after an intense (for a while) castor oil-induced labor finally petered out. At 10 days overdue (6 days after when my son was born), I finally begged my dr to induce me - she laughed when she checked me again and I was 5-6 cm - but not in labor! After all that waiting and agony, my induced labor and delivery was super fast and super easy - I loved every minute! But all that story just to say that some people go into labor without a bit of warning, and other have all the pre-labor signs for weeks, and are still waiting after their due date. I have quite a few friends whose second baby was more overdue than their first. Don't get discouraged if you are still waiting 2 weeks from now, he WILL come out eventually, and all this time is just more one on one with your 16 month old to better prepare him for all the changes that are to come!! Try (I know it's hard!) to make the most of the waiting!



answers from Seattle on

Hey K.,
Congraulations!!! It does indeed sound like Mr Andrew is on his way. Have you seen the mucus plug yet....once that passes it is usually about 24 to 48hrs to birth. The second time you labor is generally shorter than the last and push time is usually quicker because your body has done it all before. If you want to hurry things up the best jumpstart to labor is sex...I know that the last thing you want to do right now but it could speed things up a little and you can make it a real quickie.



answers from Spokane on

I feel your pain too. I have no idea if you are ready to deliver, because everyone is so different. But I had a lot of false labor with my second pregnancy (and my kids were that close in age too) and after I had him my OB retired. I asked my new OB why I had false labor so much with the second and none with the 1st, he said it was because I was walking so much. I was walking A LOT, because I was so ready to have that baby. I had the same issue. I couldn't sleep and had a little one already, so I thought it would be better if the new baby would just COME already!! The one good thing about all that walking, is that I got myself into really good shape for labor and it was a breeze. My stomach muscles were in such good shape that I didn't even have to push one full push to get him out. I don't know how much you are walking, but you may be giving yourself the contractions (I WAS).
Good luck and early congrats on the new addition to your family.
B. Jo

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