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If you’re experiencing a surge of sudden exhaustion before labor and you’re at the end of your pregnancy, that could be a sign labor is very near. You see, it’s not uncommon for expecting mothers to experience extreme fatigue before labor. Learn all about this strange sign of labor and what it might mean for you!
One of the obvious signs I remember experiencing before I went into labor with my second child was a surge of exhaustion. Like, I could literally not keep my eyes open, it was crazy!
I remember it had briefly been mentioned in the childbirth class I attended. I looked it up online to be safe and sure enough, I found this sudden exhaustion was a good indication my body was getting ready for labor.
Which, by the way, if you haven’t taken a birth class yet — girl, what are you thinking?! Don’t spend another second expecting to wing this birth, click to reserve your spot in this highly rated online childbirth class today!
Is it Normal to Feel Tired Before Labor?
It is 100% normal to experience extreme tiredness during the end of pregnancy. After all, your body needs as much energy as it can get to prepare for the act of pushing a baby out!
Some prenatal studies have even shown a correlation where greater amounts of sleep equate to shorter labors. Pretty crazy, right?
What To Do If You Experience Sudden Exhaustion Before Labor Starts?
If you’re getting close to your due date and you’re feeling tired before labor, now is a good idea to start getting more rest. Getting more rest can help your body begin the process of labor as it will be well-rested and relaxed in comparison to stressed and tired.
You will also want to make sure you have your hospital bag packed and ready (both for you and your partner).
If you haven’t made yourself a postpartum recovery kit, this would also be the best time to finalize any items you may need to help you recover from birth.
Want to know EXACTLY what tasks you should be checking off your 3rd-trimester to-do list? Grab my FREE Baby Preparation Guide now!
How Can Mom Tell if it’s Just a False Alarm?
During those last weeks of pregnancy, it’s easy to think that every little thing is early signs of labor. The most important way to tell if you are in labor and it’s not just a false alarm is by the timing and pattern of your contractions.
Let’s cover a few basics to make sure understand it clearly.
What Are Labor Contractions?
Contractions are your body’s way of drawing the baby down into the birth canal and out of your body. They feel like your abdominal muscles are all squeezing together (contracting) and then relaxing.
Real contractions (unlike braxton hicks contractions) are the ones that happen when you’re in true labor. They should last around 30 to 70 seconds and happen every 5 to 10 minutes or less. As your labor progresses, they will get stronger and become harder to relax through.
Sometimes, mom may feel lower back pain, and/or her water breaking along with these contractions.
Why Do Moms Experience Sudden Exhaustion in The Third Trimester?
I know this is the question you’re all dying to know. Why do some pregnant women experience sudden exhaustion before the big day?
Hormones, especially the increase in estrogen and progesterone, play a big role in the feeling of exhaustion and tiredness in a mom’s third trimester. If mom has already been experiencing a lack of sleep or difficulty sleeping, this also can add to the experience.
If you find yourself experiencing general tiredness or fatigue anytime in your third trimester, it’s likely a normal way of your body preparing you for labor. However, if you begin to have any other early labor signs, it’s best you notify your medical provider right away (or call your labor and delivery unit for advice).
What If You Experience a Burst of Energy Before Labor?
Want to hear some good news? Not all moms will experience intense feelings of exhaustion or sleepiness. Some moms will, in fact, experience a sudden burst of energy instead!
Have you ever heard of “nesting” listed as one of the common signs of labor? Now you know where it comes from. When moms experience that surge of energy, they usually end up cleaning like a maniac, nesting baby’s room, doing endless amounts of laundry — you get the point.
What I always suggest moms do if they do end up feeling energized and get that nesting instinct, is to finalize any last-minute baby preparation tasks, but do NOT overdo it.
It’s important to still make sleep and rest a priority while pregnant, especially before labor.
Are There Other Weird Things That Happen Before Labor?
Now that we talked a lot about energy levels and exhaustion being a sign of labour — are there any other kind of weird signs of labor moms could expect in her final weeks of pregnancy? You bet there is!
Feeling Sick and Tired Before Labour
Though it’s much less common, some women may experience feeling sick as a sign of early labor. These symptoms can include the following:
- Cramps (similar to menstrual cramps)
- Body Aches
If you end up experiencing these symptoms before your baby’s arrival, keep track of them and make sure to notify your healthcare provider if any concerns arise.
Emotional Signs Labor is Approaching
Physical changes and symptoms aren’t the only early labour signs. Some mothers experience strong emotional shifts and mood swings (sometimes correlated with a lack of sleep).
If you find yourself struggling with perinatal or postpartum depression (much more serious than the baby blues), you should seek out help immediately. These specific symptoms don’t usually indicate a sign of labor, but they do indicate a sign of stress that needs to be addressed.
I promise maternal mental health issues are not ones you need to figure out alone. There is help out there and resources out there to get you the support you deserve, click here for my favorite postpartum resource.
Losing Your Mucus Plug Before Labor
Do you know what the mucus plug is and what role it plays in your pregnancy?
The mucus plug is a clump of mucus that sits in a woman’s cervical canal to prevent bacteria from entering your uterus throughout pregnancy. Once women approach the end of their pregnancy or even the start of labor, they may experience a loss of the mucus plug.
Some women mistake their mucus plug for regular vaginal discharge (which is common during those final weeks of pregnancy).
To differentiate, the mucus plug tends to have a thick, gelatinous texture and has a creamy-yellowish color. Another fun fact is that a woman’s body can regenerate the mucus plug after it’s lost. Hence, it’s not always a crystal clear sign labor is starting (but it sure indicates it’s close).
Sudden Pelvic Pressure (or Pain) Before Labor
Lastly, this is probably the most downright weird and uncomfortable sign labor could begin — pelvic pressure or pain. You may have heard it referred to as “lightening” too.
Unfortunately, this process isn’t always a sign of early labor, but it is a sign of your body preparing for labor. You see, your baby dropping deeper into the pelvic canal is their way of preparing for a vaginal delivery (and can sometimes be a c-section).
Some mothers don’t feel their baby drop, but others do. I remember with both of my boys I was able to tell when they dropped. With my first pregnancy, I experienced horrible pelvic pain — due to the ligament being stretched out and feeling pushed to it’s max. I had to sleep in specific positions that took the weight off of my pelvic region or else I’d feel sharp pains.
With my 2nd pregnancy, I felt horrible lightening crotch — that when you experience a jolt of sharp pain down there. Almost as if your crotch was being stuck by lightening. It sounds horrible and it’s very uncomfortable, but it is manageable.
Sudden Exhaustion Before Labor: Final Thoughts
If you’re a first time mom preparing for the birth of your baby or a seasoned mother awaiting your baby’s arrival, sudden exhaustion before labor may hit you. Take the time to rest up and be sure you have your hospital bag packed and essentials ready for the big day.
Experiencing tiredness before labour is a good sign your body is getting ready to give birth. Whether it’s days or weeks, if you’re in your last month of pregnancy — do yourself one favor today and get a good night’s sleep tonight. You never know when your baby is going to make their debut into the outside world.
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