Laboring Earlier than 40 Weeks

Updated on May 11, 2008
D.W. asks from Middleburg, FL
12 answers

I will be 36 weeks this weekend and I am going out of town, with my parents (7hr drive) to attend my husband's graduation from Navy boot camp. I can't wait!
I went to the OB yesterday. She checked me, I'm 1 cm dialated (what I was at this time with my first 2) and I got my medical records, just in case.

I'm wanting to hear from mothers who have went before 40 weeks. Were there any signs besides actually GOING into labor? I've had no problems with this pregnancy or my previous 2. My first was induced a day early. With my second my water broke 2 days after my due date, but I didn't go into labor by myself and still had to be induced. And like I said, no problems with this pregnancy, I've just been told she is smaller than my boys.
The reason I would like to know is because I want to know HOW prepared I should be on this trip. There is NO WAY I'm gonna skip this trip because I haven't seen my husband in 8 weeks and I won't know when I'll see him next until we get there. I'm aware that there is a possibility I could have the baby there and I'm OK with that.

Any signs I should be aware of so I can be more prepared??

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answers from Cleveland on

Can't help with the signs, my water broke at 36 weeks, no signs before except awful backache the night before. Best of luck.

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answers from Dayton on

I was 37 weeks when I went into labor with my daughter. She was my first. There was no warning. With my son, I was 34 weeks and 1 cm dilated. They stopped my labor for a week and I had him the next week. There is no way of knowing for sure. It's all in Mother Nature's hand. As long as you are okay with possibly having the baby there and as long as the doctor says you can go on that long of a car ride, then I say go for it. Be prepared for it to be an adventurous trip. Good Luck!!



answers from Indianapolis on

Early signs of labor vary from woman to woman and even pregnancy to pregnancy. Some things to watch for though would be a change in appetite, more frequent bowel movements or diarrhea, bloody mucus and contractions that become regular. It is common to have Braxton-Hicks contractions that are a bit irregular, but once they seem to develop a pattern, it is time to consider the possibility of labor.

It is a good idea that you have your medical records to take with you just in case. It is a real possibility that you could go into labor while you are on your trip. I would STRONGLY recommend that you take anything with you that you would already be taking to the hospital with you (like your hospital bag, car seat, camera, etc). If this is too much for you to take, you can make due with just a few things for the baby and definitely car seat. Wouldn't want to have to buy a new one while you were out.

I would also consider contacting the local hospital to let them know what is going on. That way, you may be able to schedule a visit with an OB there just in case. Then, at least it wouldn't be a surprise to the hospital.

God bless,
A. (trained childbirth assistant)



answers from Cleveland on

I was due four weeks before My husbands best friend was having a singing competition 2 hours south of myu hospital, I decided not to go due to health conserns I had. I wish I would have gone, my OB told me I would go any day, and my any day was 2 weeks later.... As long as you have your medical records with you it will be just fine, you'll just have to stay in an out of town hospital for a few days! But you'll get to the important day of graduation! Just try not to stress to much, and keep your walking to a minimum! That's what put me over the edge, I walked for 10 hours straight the day before I had my son! And just relax as much as you can even though it's going to be an exciting time!



answers from South Bend on

I work in the child birth unit for 8 years but not a nurse, however I know you shouldn't travel at this stage... But if you are going- you are going. Just make sure to make frequent rest stops, stretch your legs, make sure you go to the bathroom when needed..don't hold it. Stay comfortable and make sure to stay hydrated.. Being dehydrated can cause contractions.I would plan ahead for just in case anything did happen. Look up the city and find where the nearest hospital would be.. might want to check with your insurance to make sure they are covered with your network. Many times there are two hospitals. One covers certain networks and the other covers other networks. Or just call your insurance company and tell them the city and ask which is a preferred hospital. Trust me.. you don't want to pay out of network bills. I mean.. all hospitals take you no matter what but its best to be prepared. Being in the child birth unit.. we get many people visiting from out of town and go into labor. So just make sure to be prepared for anything. Have your doctors phone numbers on hand for the hospital to call to get your records (that is extremely important) Good Luck!



answers from Indianapolis on

I have read that signs of labor will differ from woman to woman- but with both of my previous babies, the signs were the same and I have never carried one past 38 weeks. Both times in the past, I noticed some "intestinal distress" for several days which ended with my water breaking and labor beginning. On top of the intestinal distress, I just sort of had a "feeling"- my intuition was right both times that I was nearing labor even though my due date was a few weeks away. I have never noticed my "mucus plug"- the big thing all the books say to watch for. I just know that when I become obsessed with the thought of impending labor, have to (pardon the indelicacy) poop all the time, and actaully have a little less acid reflux- I better pack my bag!
Hope this helps!



answers from Dayton on

I delivered my first the morning I turned 36 weeks. I had no signs before until I actually had contractions. Watch to lose your mucus plug and good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

The mucus plug falling out (you can look that up if you don't know what it is already). Looser than normal stools can be a sign. I was induced with my first and had no other signs other than being 3 cm dilated. My daughter came 1 week early and I had all the classic signs - even the nesting (scrubbing the kitchen floor with a toothbrush anyone?) I wouldn't worry about it too much - it sounds like you're prepared just in case and I don't blame you for going!



answers from Columbus on

My son was born soon after his 35th week, my water broke that day morning and I had to go the hospital, my son weighed 6 lbs 5oz and is very healthy. I won't worry about it. You should be fine, should something happen before. Good Luck!



answers from Cleveland on

My son was born at 36 weeks. I woke at 2am to my water breaking. The day before I was 2cm and very happy and busy working around the house. He was born a 6:32am and was 6lbs 15oz - a very healthy little boy.

I wouldn't worry about it, everything will be fine. You did the right thing by getting your records and planing ahead. I wish I had been ready when my son was, lol.



answers from Indianapolis on


With my daughter I never went into labor and was induced at 41 weeks.

With my son, I went into labor the day before my 39th week. I knew because for 5 days prior to that I had a lot of contractions and everyday they got more painful. When I went to the Dr I wasn't dilated enough, they sent me in for monitoring and when I was sent to labor and delivery they sent me back home for they didn't progress.

That was on a Friday, the weekend was horrible with contractions but they weren't regular. Monday I had a horrible sharp pain and went in, I was 5cm dilated and they went ahead and did the c-section ;)



answers from Lafayette on

Hi D.!

I know you asked for moms who labored early, but I wanted you to know what my dr. said. I am due in July with our 4th son. I went within 3 days of my due date with all 3 boys. The last my water broke on his due date and labor started. Each delivery has been different. Anyways, we are starting a lot of travelling in the next week and a half and I talked to my OB about how late I could travel, etc. He said until the last month, no problem. After that, just get a cervical check the day before we leave to make sure I'm not dialating. 1 cm. is almost not dialating at all. I usually walk around at 2 for the last month or 6 weeks. But don't dilate beyond that until labor. Granted every pregnancy/labor is different, but since there is no history of you going early and assuming you are healthy and pregnancy is going well (uncomplicated), I wouldn't be too concerned. Like you said, just be aware of your body and give yourself lots of breaks while travelling. Be sure to get up and walk around every hour or 2 while driving. Good luck!

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