No one can predict exactly when a baby will decide to make their grand entrance in the world, but there are some telltale signs that point to their actual due date. Typically, a baby will be born within two weeks before and two weeks after their estimated due date, but not always. With a high level of anticipation leading up to the due date, it’s reassuring to see certain signs that indicate that you are about to give birth!
If you suddenly find yourself wanting to clean the house from top to bottom, it’s likely that you’ve moved into nesting mode in preparation for the baby. A lot of new moms feel this sense of urgency to get everything ready for the baby, including buying new baby gear for their nursery. From stocking up on diapers to investing in a baby bassinet, nesting is a clear sign that your baby will be making an appearance soon.
At some point, your baby will begin their journey down toward the birth canal, signaling that their due date is right around the corner. This is called “lightening,” and can happen anytime between a few weeks and a few hours before birth. You’ll be able to tell when the baby has dropped as they will move lower into the pelvis and look lower in a mirror than they did before.
While you may have been gaining weight all along, towards the end of your pregnancy, you’ll suddenly notice that the weight gain stops. This is a sign that your baby is due soon.
Fatigue is very common at the end of your pregnancy, so take it easy and get some rest. You’ll need it before the birth of the baby, who will completely change everyone’s sleep schedules!
You might notice a new type of discharge, which could be an indicator that your body is getting ready for birth. According to Karen Nordahl, M.D., "Some women have an increase in their vaginal discharge during pregnancy, and some don't have an increase at all.”
In addition, you might find that your bowels have suddenly become very loose. This is typically nothing to be concerned about as it could be the result of a release of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are natural chemicals that help soften the cervix in the days leading up to the birth, but they also have the unintended consequence of causing diarrhea.
As opposed to Braxton Hicks contractions, real ones will be spaced evenly at regular intervals and feel more intense. Once you start having real contractions, you are going into labor and the baby is without a doubt on their way.
Most women will notice other signs on this list before their water breaks, but if this happens to be the first sign, you should get yourself to your birthing place, stat! The protective sac of amniotic fluid around your baby has ruptured, meaning your baby is ready to face the world.