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Signs of labor during pregnancy: Bowel movements, cramping, and spotting, oh my!

by Jane · 49 comments

Mom-to-be just waiting for baby in the end of the third trimester.38 weeks pregnant and counting… and waiting.  Are signs of labor during my pregnancy starting?

It’s funny because I know that I’m 1cm dilated and 80% effaced and I keep getting my hopes up with every little sign.  I’m also quite aware of the fact that dilation and effacement doesn’t necessarily mean a thing.  It’s such a tease really.

I find myself looking for signs of labor approaching and then I think “Is this it?” and it never is.  I need to remain calm and stop worrying.  I really just don’t want to have to worry about being induced, but no sense in worrying about that now either.

I had my last pregnancy internal on Friday and I must say that I dislike having my appointment on Fridays.  It was much better when I had my appointment on Wednesdays because the office was always open should I need to call about a question.  With a Friday appointment I can’t just call the office.  Well, I technically could call the emergency number, which pages my OB, but the key word there is emergency.

Anyways, after my internal on Friday my OB told me that I could expect a little spotting since there was a little drop of blood on her glove.  No big deal, right?

Well I had spotting the whole damn weekend, accompanied with menstrual cramp feelings.  I wanted to call the office, but did not deem this quite an emergency, so I refrained.  Naturally I was super excited when the office re-opened yesterday and I was able to place my call to the nurse.

Wouldn’t you know that she called me back while I was in the produce section of the grocery store?  Perfect location to talk blood, mucus plug, cramping, and labor, isn’t it?

Anyways, the nurse said my OB said it was nothing to worry about, most likely my cervix ripening and shedding some blood.  She also said that my OB thinks it will be just a matter of time now (another tease, no?).  I was told that I should not be having period-like blood, so if I do to call the office or the emergency number if the office is closed.  So far, so good (as far as having no period-like blood).

So now I just sit and wait and continue to look for other…

Signs of labor during pregnancy week 38?

signs of labor during pregnancyFor example, and consider yourself fair-warned about this TMI topic coming up, pregnancy bowel movements.

Up until four days ago, I was not pooping.  I swear that a week had gone by, or at least it felt like that.  It could have only been a few days.  Obviously I wasn’t keeping track.

But four days ago, everything started to move in my bowels and this was without changing up my diet.  No diarrhea (really, I did warn you about the topic!), but not extremely “solid” either.  And it’s been happening daily at least 2-3 times.  This is brand-spanking new for me and I like to think that it’s a sign.  Pregnancy bowel movements is not my favorite topic by far, but it’s a sign my body is preparing for labor!

I’ve read and heard numerous times that bowel movements at the end of your pregnancy is a sign that labor is soon because your body will start to cleanse that unwanted stuff before labor.

The only reason I remember that is because there were about six signs of preliminary labor and I checked off each item to Tarzan as we were watching a DVD on the signs of labor – which we will be reviewing on here within the next day or two.  The only thing that I hadn’t experienced on the signs of labor list was “diarrhea”.  Lovely topic.

And then things started to move, so maybe I can check that item off the list too.

Even if I can, it doesn’t really mean anything.  My baby will come out when he is ready, no matter what I do to help him along the way (spicy foods, sex, walking, etc).  I wish it was easier to get him to make his appearance, but I know that when he does it will be special and I will be so thankful to hold him in my arms instead of him pressing against my bladder.

All. Of. The. Time.

You might also want to read:

  1. Signs of labor? 39 weeks pregnant and the bloody show or mucus plug arrived today
  2. 38 weeks pregnant: OB pregnancy appointment, date night, & my labor dream
  3. 38 weeks pregnant: We finally packed the hospital bag for labor and delivery
  4. 39 weeks pregnant: Aerosmith concert vs. labor and delivery
  5. 33 weeks pregnant: Disturbing dream about labor and delivery

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

31 Rebecca

ok so I am 38 weeks pregnant with baby number 2. I am dilated to 4 cm and I have constant back pains and cramping. I lost my plug last week and I have also noticed the more frequent trips to the bathroom but no diarehea thank god. I guess for now its just the waiting game. I had to stop working because standing on my feet was causing severe pain. I am so ready to have this baby. 9 days til my scheduled induction unless he comes naturally which by the way im terrified of I prefer to be induced which is what i did with baby 1

32 Linda

38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, yesterday I had my cervix checked for the second time first time they did it i was only 1cm and i stood that way for about 2 weeks on my yesterday appointment my Ob checked me and was excited for me that I was 3cm along. I know the spotting would be normal, but my appointment was at 11:30am i didnt start the brown spotting til 6pm and continued the whole night until like 11pm i had taken a hot bath cause of my back pains i was having, they were horrible with minor contractions at 4am i had a nother spot. This morning i went to get up and get ready for work when i got here i went to the restroom and wiped and there was like brown blood sorry for the (TMI) and i had a BM Sorry again and i been having contractions since 8:30 but i can handle them i feel her moving but at times i feel her head down there as well. just not sure what to do is it normal to have brown blood or spotting like that til the next day? this is my 3 rd pregnancy but all my pregnancies have been so different.

33 Danni

hi, im new to this but i am 15 years old and i am 27 weeks and 4 days and i have been getting lots of cramps and i have had diarrhea for the last 26 hours and i went to go see a doctor and she said i have gastro and that i could go into pre term labor. but when i came home i had to go to the toilet to have a bm but nothing happened and now im getting really scared. PLEASE HELP ME!!

34 Jasonya

Hello there, I am 38 weeks and 3 days and SO ready to have this baby. He woke me up kicking this morning. I saw the nurse last week and I was having regular contractions about 6-7 minutes apart. Not painful though, just tightening. The doc saw my Stress Test results and said, “Oh, she is ready to have this baby” then the nurse sent me home, told me to go to hosp. if contractions were 5 mins apart, lost mucus plug, water broke etc. Nothing since then… just more contractions. Anyways, today I woke up and feel so gassy, I am hoping I have a blow out just so I can feel NON-BLOATED for the first time in FOREVER! I had a cup of coffee, I hope this helps! Anyways, my dad and nephew/son are going to be here in 4 days so I am hoping that the little man will have just arrived or that I will go in to labor the day after they get here. I CAN’T imagine waiting till August 3rd. (due date) because I am already so uncomfortable! LOL! Then of course it doesn’t help to have all my friends (who aren’t preggers) say, “you’re not ready yet” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!??????? THEY AREN’T THE ONES WHO HAVE BEEN PREGNANT FOR A WHOLE YEAR!!!!! I LOVE the thread. It is very interresting. I enjoyed reading all the posts!

35 caitlin

im 38 weeks pregnant an have been having cramps in my lower stomach for the past 3/4 days. Usually i am on the toliet for abiut 10 15 minutes trying to go but i am usually so constipated it hurts to go. But today i had to go twice with in 20 minutes an i wasnt constipated it was more on the scale of diarriha. I have been having pains an they last up to about 3/4 minutes than go an than 10 20 minutes later there back. Is this a sughn of labour im nurvous because this is my first :-)

36 meenakshi

I am 38 weeks pregnant…but no signs of labour till now:(

37 Melissa

I am 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant with baby #3 I have been having the cramps and braxton hicks contractions for 4 weeks now. I was last checked at the Doctor on July 22nd and was 2cm and about 75-80% effaced. I was induced with both my previous children. My first was induced 3 days before my due date and my 2nd was induced 2 days before my due date. I am looking forward to going into labor on my own this time but I have had so many complications since about 28 weeks so I doubt that will happen. They had to stop contractions twice and now I’m only gettin braxton hicks contractions. Before I began to dilate I tried walking around although, doctor says I did too much walking I believe it may have been the reason I made it to 2cm and 75-80% effaced. I went to a local festival in my town and walked around for about 5 hours. I ended up having contractions 2-5 minutes apart but they stopped them it was too soon. Now that I am 37 weeks I feel as if my daughters just about ready to make an entrance. Although, I am now having troubles dilating further as I had the same problems with my previous pregnancies. I now fear I will be induced again. I only have 3 more appointments til my due date hopefully something soon. My last appointment is on my due date and I know my doctor will induce me if she is not here by then.

38 Rosie

Hey i am also 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant but with my 2nd daughter. My due date is Friday July 1st,2011 and i am now 4cm dilated. With my first daughter i held her for 42 weeks and my due date was friday march 4, 2005 but she didnt arrive until friday march 18th,2005. I had to be induced but my ob never arrived to the hospital until 5:30pm. So one of the nurses checked me and told me i was already 3cm dilated and by 5:30pm i was already 7cm open so the induction was really a waste of time because regardless of the potocin going through my IV i was still goin to give birth. She came out quick. By 7pm i was a full 10cm dilated n they told me to push. My baby girl arrived at 8:14pm. And i forgot about the pain. With this pregnancy now my daughter been giving me a hard time. In april i was getting contractions every 3-5 minutes apart and had to go to labor and delivery they had to stop the contractions if not she would have been a premie. They stopped my contractions 4 times and now i am 39 weeks and 2 days pregnancy and only 4cm dilated and my baby doesnt want to come out at all now. I walk alot just so she can come and it doesnt help, i would run around the block and nothing, i climb up and down the stairs and still nothing. I’m anxious to meet my baby and she is taking very long. Never went through this with my first child. Oh and now i am having bloody shows and of course contractions but their 10min apart. My doctor says she can come whenever but she is taking forever.

39 Shangubo

Hey am 6 days passed my due date. I have had all the signs from diarrhea to back ache and tighting in my stomach but still nothing, its my first pregnany and I now don’t know what to look for, but thanks to everyone who has written to this web site it has really helped me a lot to learn that am not alone…

40 kristy

i am 29 weeks & just went into labor last week & i am on medicine to stop it now but i find everything you’ve covered on this site very helpful.

41 Amie Weaver

37 weeks pregnant with my first. I agree everything makes you think is it time. I have been packed for the hospital for 2 months. I’m totally ready..

42 amanda

im 38 weeks pregnant– and im cramping really bad too— it feels like forever for the baby to come out– but all u can do is sit and wait– but im a so impatiant person– i hate to wait!!!! anyways im due on 11-27-10 –and cant wait!!! i want her out—lol!!!!!

43 carol =)

hi im 38 weeks all day yesterday an 2day i had pain like i was bustin 4 a pee n i went 2 the dunny n done a pee & i still felt full all day it fills like the buba is gunna fall out lol n then i have cramps like 1 every 10min but they didnt get stronger is that normal ?????????????????????????????

44 tori


LAst night oct 6th i had the exact same thing happen to me i dont know what caused it or anything i was so close to waking up my husband and having him take me to the hospital but he had to be up at 345 for work and it was midnight didnt want to worry him if all the er was going to say was go home and rest as they have done b4. i dont know if this means its close or what.. My dr is a lil old school and said if i dont have my lil man on my own then he is induceing me on the 21st. i dont thing im going to make it.. almost 5 weeks ago he alrdy weighted an estimaed 6lbs and 8 ounces.. so now im thinking at least 7 lbs and at most 9 lbs. im so ready for him to be here.. please can someone tell me if labor is jus around the corner. oh by the way im 37 weeks prego… <3

45 questionnn

I’m 34 weeks pregnant right now, at 32 I had gone into preterm labor because of placental abrupstion, it was stopped with magneisum sulfate and I was also given to steroid shots. I was sent home on modified bed rest. Well Monday, I woke up at 6 to horrible contraction, they have been on and off all week & having mild back pain all week. I’ve also been leaking a clear sweet smelling liquid, what could this be? My doctors have only told me that its normal and that i’m having Braxton hicks contractions but I think it has to be more then just that. Today I went to pee, and it was completely clear and I wiped and had a discharge that was the color of breast milk. Is my water leaking and am I going into labor?

P.s Now I’m having loose bowls and even though i eat like a horse im still hungry, my tummy wont stop growling all day! Helppp?

46 Jessica

I’m 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant today and i’m shceduled to be induced on Friday. W/ my last i was induced and expirienced painful contractions…. i’ve been having menstral like cramps on and off for about 4 days now ..can anyone tell me what that is? And how can i possibly induce myself before my dr does? No sex tho.

47 Leanne

I’m 38 weeks and I’ve been spotting for exactly 7 days today. This is my second and it’s like a completely new pregnancy! I never spotted with my first. I had no warning really except when the contractions came on. As much as I like the ‘signs’ of labor happening anytime now, it’s also kind of frustrating because I feel like I’m looking for signs… or more signs I should say. Every little thing I’m like ‘oh maybe this means I’ll go early’… I’m in no way eager to get him out. Don’t get me wrong I can’t wait to meet my little man, but carrying him around in the belly is the easy part, so I’m in no rush for this labor to come on. However, after having ‘the show’ as they call it, and slight cramping at night along with some loose bm I’m left soooo curious as to WHEN it’s going to happen!! I almost wish the show hadn’t started as exciting as it is to know it’s anytime now.

Good luck to all you ladies who are in the same boat!!

48 Jess

It is great to find a forum where women share their personal stories as opposed to people saying call your doctor. Sure, we know we should call our doctor, but we want to check around to see if it is normal first! Right ladies?

Anyway, I am 38 weeks 1 day pregnant and this morning I went to the restroom to tinkle and when I wiped I noticed a spot of blood. I called my doctor immediately and he said he thinks that it is just my cervix trying to open a little bit and to come in if I start cramping really bad (every 3 to 5 minutes) or if the blood gets worse. I didnt notice any more blood, but I did start having contractions every 7 minutes. Unfortunately they stopped. I am scheduled for a c-section next Monday, but the way I feel, I am unsure if I will make it until then or not! I have a doctor’s appointment Tuesday, bc they are closed tomorrow for Labor Day. I hope I make it until D-Day because we have 3 doctors in our town that deliver babies and 2 of them have bad names for themselves.

Guess Ill just patiently wait! Good luck to all of you mommies and daddies out there! Here is to a healthy baby and a safe delivery!

49 all confused

Bun in the oven…..
I’m 39 weeks and 2 days and that’s whats been happening to me. My backaches have been so bad that I cry, can barely walk, same pains at night 5-7 min apart and HORRIBLE pains & cramping (like right now). So, I’ve been back & forth to the er… to only be annoyed by nurses who act like I’m SERIOUSLY overreacting.
A lil history here… I’ve had HORRIBLE pregnancies and had my last one premature and at HOME. Just crazy!!!!! So, not trying to have that happen again. This is my 5th child and I’ve NEVER gone thru ANY of this…. so, I understand.
Right now I’m 1cm, I’ve passed the loose bowels, back aches, right now… diarrhea, spotting… (never heard or seen a “plug” either). So, I dont know.. :-/ just scared cuz I’ve never bled w/any of my pregnancies.

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