Is Labor Imminent?

Updated on April 19, 2010
S.G. asks from Pottstown, PA
7 answers

You'd think that since I'm in the home stretch with baby #3, I'd know what is going on, but I feel more confused and anxious with this pregnancy than I did with my first!

I am nearly 36 wks and last night I would have sworn I was going into labor. I was having contractions (stronger & tighter than my usual Braxton-Hicks) almost non-stop, terrible back pain, and that feeling that "this is it!". I was in my office chair all day yesterday attempting to catch up on work stuff before baby arrives, so it's not like I over-exerted myself causing the contractions and over-all not feeling well. The only thing that kept me from calling the doctor was that baby hasn't dropped yet. Baby is still floating up high and although he/she is head down, definitely does not feel engaged. ( I remember with my previous 2 what it feels like to have the baby's head engaged (like baby is just going to fall out!)). So my question is, do any of you moms have any advice/stories about going into labor BEFORE baby dropped? Or do you remember baby dropping and then labor setting in sometime after that?

A bit of background... I am a quick birther, so I definitely don't want to wait at home too long, as our drive the hospital I am delivering at is 30-45 mins away (although in an emergency, our local hospital is 5-10). But on the flip side, I don't really want to be running to the doctor or hospital every time something COULD be going on (1. the drive (not right around the corner) and 2. our insurance has changed since my other pregnancies and I am already aware that we are going to get whacked with out-of-pocket expenses.)

Thanks for help mamas!

PS - After putting my feet up and relaxing the rest of the night, the pains subsided and based on how I am feeling this AM, you would never know what I went thru last night. =)

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answers from Dallas on

You don't have to have the baby drop to go into labor. I went into labor both times naturally without them down. I agree that I ended up with c-sections because they would not come down, but that did not change the part where I was in labor. It was easy for me to tell because my water broke both times.

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answers from Des Moines on

I was thinking I read somewhere that with your first, the baby drops before labor...sometimes a long time before. But after that with the next one(s) they usually don't drop until during labor, or right up until you are ready to have it. Man, I tell ya, my 3rd baby, he was in my ribs right up until I pushed him out! I swear he was clinging to them trying to stay in saying "NO, I DON'T WANT TO GO!". Granted it could be that he was 10lbs 2 oz, and there wasn't much space in there, but I remember being in labor and constantly trying to use my hands to push him out of my ribs! I think when I started throwing up, was when he moved down...which about 10 minutes later, he was born. Good Luck! I think your anxiety is perfectly normal! I was the most nervous with my 3rd too!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Your baby might wait until labor to drop because this is not your first. Also your labors should progress faster than before because it is your 3rd baby. Back pain is common in labor, I have most of my labor pains in the back.
You could begin labor at any time. Be on the lookout and when you start having regular pains, even if they are not the kind you can time well, it is probably labor.

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answers from Erie on

I don't know what your body type is, but with both of my kids, the baby never "dropped". My second labor went very 2 hours from start to finish :) but what my midwife always told me was to get in the tub/shower. if relaxing in there didn't help and you are still feeling contractions, then that might be a sign. good luck!

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answers from Seattle on

Well, my first baby "dropped" just a half hour before he was born. But with that said I was in full on no way to be mistaken transitional labor for quite some time before that drop.

First, if a baby is truely coming fast usually little is wrong and so no real worries even if baby comes at home. A birth is not an emergency or a medical event.

Also since this is your 3rd your utuerus is stronger and so you will feel the warm up contractions more than before. When you have them, drink a large amount of water and take a large dose of calcium( at least 2000mg), this will usually knock them out as well changing positions and also taking a warm bath. If they continue to get stronger and closer together for more than a couple of hours after you have dones these things you might be in labor that will produce a baby. All labor is real, just a matter of if it keeps going.

Are you having more than 5-6 contractions that are more than a minute or so long in an hour? You are @ 36 weeks, in just a few days your baby will be considered full term.....

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answers from Allentown on

With my 3rd by baby never dropped until I was in ACTIVE labor. I was so worried the babe would never drop & I was domed for a C. She came 8 days late & out in one push.
With my 1st (a 36 weeker) I knew I had dropped. My second I felt like I had dropped very early & he was just hanging low! lol (induced at 39 wks)

Seems as though your body is preparing for the little one, but since the contractions are not consistent & stop when you stop you should be ok. I would, however, put a call in to the doc just to see what they recommend. If things slow down when you do, perhaps take that as a cue to slow down Mama! Get plenty of fluid & rest!
Best wishes!!

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answers from Allentown on

It's very normal for babies that are not your first to NOT drop prior to the onset of labor.
How fast were your previous labors? Typically, labor contractions aren't close enough to birth a baby until they are CONSISTANTLY 2-3 min apart and if you haven't had a lot of bloody show yet, you still have (typically) plenty of time to get to your place of birth.
If you feel like you're having a lot of contractions & are not sure if "it's time" yet, you can put your feet up, take lots of deep breaths & drink a full glass of water as quickly as you can manage to. If it's just contractions caused by activity, this will typically stop them.

If, however, you notice that tell-tale labor pattern of LONGER, STRONGER, CLOSER TOGETHER is becoming very consistant and you're starting to get bloody show, etc...then it may be time to go. (Keep in mind too though, as I'm sure you remember, that "bloody show" *can* show up after cervical checks, sex, etc... too.)

I think that it's really important that you just listen to your body more than anything else. Trust your body & trust your baby. Your body knows how to birth & your baby knows how to help him/herself be born.

Good luck, enjoy the rest of your pregnancy & have a wonderful, beautiful, empowering birth!

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