20 Things Doctors Don't Tell Soon-To-Be Moms About The Week Before Labor

Doctors are busy people. They don't always have enough time to explain every pre-pregnancy symptom to their patients. Of course, some doctors spend more time discussing pre-pregnancy symptoms with patients than others. Moms-to-be who do have very busy OBGYNs will benefit from reading this list. It's filled with factual information about a lot of stuff that may happen to the female body during the week before labor.

Expectant moms who have questions about any of these pre-pregnancy symptoms should talk to their OBGYNs. It's smart to add questions to a list and then take it along to appointments. Since the average doctor spends just 13 to 16 minutes with a patient, according to Businessinsider.com, having a list of questions on-hand will help a mom-to-be get organized and get answers.

The week before labor is such an emotional time. Expectant moms know that labor is on the horizon. If they're pregnant with their first babies, they don't know exactly what to expect. There is so much to think about and feel. Knowing which pre-pregnancy symptoms are normal is one way to take the pressure off. Anyone who is expecting should make sure to read every single entry on the list — we want to make sure we're covering all our bases, after all!

Moms-to-be who don't learn about these symptoms may worry more than they should. Make that pregnancy and labor a stress-free time by learning more here!

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 Pre-Labor Pains Feel Like Menstrual Cramps


You may experience pains in your lower belly during the week before labor, according to Mynaturalbabybirth.com. These pre-labor pains happen because the baby is pressing down upon the cervix. This pressing down by the baby sends the body a message to begin effacing and dilating.

Some women who are expecting their first babies don't have pre-labor pains. They are more common in women who have given birth before. They may begin days before labor, but it's possible to have them for weeks beforehand. They feel like menstrual cramps (unfortunately), but the discomfort happens lower in the body than it does during menstruation. Pain is generally situated very low within the abdomen and between the hips

19 The End Of A Pregnancy Is Often The Hardest Part


The last week of pregnancy may be easy for some women, but most find it tough. According to Everydayfamily.com, finding this phase in life rough is commonplace. By the last week of pregnancy, a woman has a very sizable bump, which makes it difficult for her to move around easily. A woman basically has a full-term baby on board, although it hasn't actually been born yet.

So, it's no surprise that most women feel uncomfortable and tired during the final week. Of course, there are also "last week"pregnancy symptoms to deal with! Remember, this too shall pass. It's the last hurdle to clear before meeting a brand-new baby!

18 You May Experience More Bladder Discomfort


During the last part of the third trimester, pressure on the bladder may increase, according to Modernmom.com. Extra pressure is the result of movements by the unborn baby, such as kicks. So bladder pressure is yet another pre-pregnancy symptom which may crop up near the end of your pregnancy.

Some women experience it during the other trimesters, too. Usually, it's more intense during trimesters one and three and tapers off during the second trimester. The second trimester is the most comfortable trimester for most women. If you are dealing with bladder pressure, you may feel general discomfort, or feel like you need to urinate.

17 Swelling May Become A Noticeable Problem


Poor Jessica Simpson had to deal with some major swelling while she was expecting her daughter, Birdie Mae, who was born on March 19th, 2019. Her baby was born very heavy (and very healthy). Jessica shared her pregnancy woes with other moms via social media. She was very open about her rough pregnancy.

It's so nice when women are honest about their pregnancy aches, pains, and swelling. It's also no nice that Jessica finally had her baby and doesn't need to deal with swelling anymore.

According to Babycenter.com, some swelling is typical. Swelling is usually the result of more fluid volume within the body.

16 Back Pain May Get Worse


As an unborn baby gets bigger, he or she is going to put more strain on a mom-to-be's back, so it's not hard to understand why back pain can be particularly annoying during the last week of pregnancy. It's the time when an unborn baby is the biggest.

So, what to do? Well, according to the Mayoclinic.org website, sticking to sensible shoes, paying attention to posture (don't slouch), and side sleeping will help. You may also want to treat yourself to a soothing, gentle—and pregnancy-safe—massage.

Also, don't stop walking and doing other forms of gentle, low-impact exercise, as these types of exercise help to strengthen the back.

15 Your Appetite May Decrease


You've been eating for two, but your appetite may decrease a bit during the very last week of your pregnancy. The Familyeducation.com website reports that many women do experience this symptom late in their pregnancies. It happens because their unborn babies are putting a lot more pressure on their abdomens! There just isn't the same space for food that there used to be.

Eating small meals more frequently is the best way to ensure that you get adequate nutrition (and have adequate energy) during this pivotal phase of the gestation period. You don't need to force-feed yourself. Just be sure that you get enough calories.

14 Breathing Will Be Easier Once The Baby Turns


Some pregnant women find that they have breathing problems during pregnancy. The good news is that breathing should become easier during the last week of pregnancy when the baby turns. In rare cases, a baby won't turn and this signifies a breech pregnancy. In most cases, a baby will turn, however.

Some babies turn as early as week 30, according to Newkidscenter.com, while others don't turn until week 36 or later. If you've experienced shortness of breath during your third trimester, you should feel relief as you approach the end of your pregnancy. When the baby turns, it makes a big difference.

13 Frequent Urination May Become Annoying


With a practically full-term baby putting extra pressure on your bladder, there will be more trips to the bathroom. You'll probably need to urinate frequently. This is annoying, but it's just one more sign that labor is imminent.

Jessica Simpson actually broke a toilet in her home because she leaned back while she was sitting down, according to AOL.com. Jessica was carrying a very big baby, though; she has now given birth and can put all of those irritating pregnancy symptoms behind her. Your pregnancy woes will end, too. So, hang in there. Don't stop hydrating, even though it means more trips to the bathroom.

12 The Baby's Kicks May Not Feel Pleasant


A baby's kicks are amazing because they show a mom-to-be that her baby is strong and active in the womb. However, near the end of pregnancy, some of those kicks may not feel too great.

According to Babycentre.co.uk, a lot of moms find the sensation of their unborn babies' kicks to be a little unpleasant at times, especially in late pregnancy, when unborn babies have less room to move about.

Try to focus on the positive. Most experts believe that strong kicks are a sign that unborn babies are doing great. Soon, you'll get to watch your baby kick in his or her crib.

11 You May Have Balance Problems


With a big bump, it's a little harder to stay completely balanced. Some moms-to-be may even experience dizziness that throws them off balance, according to the Pregnancy-baby-care.com website. If you're feeling dizzy, sit down or lie down. Take a break from your busy schedule and rest. If rest doesn't help, talk to your OBGYN.

If your balance problems aren't due to dizziness, consider changing up your footwear. Sturdy, sensible shoes will give you the most stability and help a lot with balance. This isn't the time for high-fashion heels or wedges. Soon enough, you'll be back in your most stylish shoes again.

10 Your May Worry About Labor A Lot


The end of pregnancy brings a lot of thoughts. Some of them are positive and some of them are negative. For example, a pregnant woman who is close to her due date may have joyful thoughts about meeting her baby for the first time, but she might also have anxiety about labor and whether or not the baby will be born healthy.

According to Parents.com, women may even worry that they won't be able to get their bodies back to pre-pregnancy states. Soothe your worries by talking to someone who cares about you. Any pregnancy-safe stress relief techniques should also be helpful.

9 Pressure On The Pelvis Increases


While you're pregnant, the ligaments in your pelvis will stretch out. This may lead to sensations of discomfort and pressure. At the 36 week point, your unborn baby will rest in the lowest section of your sternal bone and this is when pressure and discomfort will be most noticeable, according to Newkidscenter.com.

So, start watching for this pre-pregnancy symptom at week 36. It may happen a little earlier or later, such as during the very last week of pregnancy. A typical gestation period lasts for 40 weeks. That's 280 days! By the very end, most unborn babies are roughly the size of smaller pumpkins!

8 Pubic Bone Discomfort May Strike


Some celeb moms have had pretty unpleasant pregnancies. Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, and Salma Hayek have all suffered in order to bring babies into this world. One less-than-pleasant pregnancy symptom which may crop up during the last week of pregnancy is pubic bone discomfort. That doesn't sound like much fun, does it? That's because it isn't.

According to Whattoexpect.com, 80 percent of moms-to-be deal with pelvic discomfort and most find that it happens near the end of their pregnancies. It's due to increased pressure on the pelvic bone and the entire pelvic region. Wearing a belly sling may help to relieve the pain.

7 Your Water May Not Break Until Labor Actually Begins


On TV and in the movies, water breaking is typically a pretty dramatic event. It's a big gush of water that leads to a speedy trip to a hospital. IRL, it may not be such a dramatic event, according to Pampers.com. Some pregnant women notice just a trickle of fluid when their water breaks. Plus, even though water breaking almost always signifies the start of labor, contractions may not begin right when water breaks.

When you do start having contractions after your water breaks, keep track of the amount of time between contractions. When contractions come every five minutes, it's time to head for the hospital. Leave earlier if it's a long trip.

6 Your Baby May Arrive Late


You're very pregnant and you're waiting for your due date to arrive. Late pregnancy is not too comfortable, so you want pregnancy to be over...and you also want to meet your baby! You need to be aware that your baby may arrive late. Babies come early, on time, and even ate— these things happen. Parents.com reports that a mere five percent of babies are born right when they are anticipated to arrive.

So, relax as best you can. Don't get too caught up in the due date stuff. Prepare for your baby's birth by resting, nesting, and getting a birth plan and "go bag" ready for the hospital.

5 False Labor Is Likely


False labor is something that many women experience during the last weeks of their pregnancies. According to Babycenter.com, false labor pains are usually situated in the lower portion of the abdomen. Real labor pains are situated higher up in the abdomen. Keep this in mind while trying to figure out if your labor pains are genuine or false.

It can be confusing, of course. You may think you're in labor when you aren't. Don't be afraid to ask for advice from an OBGYN. Don't hesitate to go to a hospital if you think that your labor is the real thing and you're having contractions every five minutes or so. Better safe than sorry!

4 Your Mucus Plug Will Become Dislodged


During pregnancy, a mucus plug develops. It's something that rests within the canal of the cervix, according to Healthline.com. While you're pregnant, your cervix will produce a viscous fluid, with the consistency of jelly, which is moist and protective. This fluid builds up and serves as a seal for the cervical canal.

As pregnancy nears its end, this mucus plug becomes dislodged. When it does, it typically means that labor is on the horizon. Many women go into labor shortly after losing their mucus plugs, but it is possible to lose a mucus plug weeks before labor. A jelly-like discharge is a sign that your plug has been dislodged, but you may not notice anything.

3 Your Bowel Movements May Get Looser As Labor Approaches


Oh, joy! Yet another annoying pregnancy symptom to deal with! No one wants really loose bowel movements unless they are constipated, and pregnant women have been known to become constipated.

According to Bellybelly.com.au, getting diarrhea during the end of a pregnancy is quite common. It happens because a pregnant women's body is releasing a hormone known as prostaglandin. This hormone gets a cervix ready for labor. It does so by softening it. While it's getting the cervix ready, it acts on the bowel, too, and this may trigger frequent and loose bowel movements.

Loose bowel movements are usually a sign that the body is preparing for the big event!

2 Great Sleep May Be Almost Impossible


Kiss deep and healing rest goodbye during the final week of pregnancy! It's possible that you've had trouble sleeping long before the last week. When a woman is very pregnant, finding a comfortable sleep position is tough. Also, certain pregnancy symptoms, such as heartburn, may crop up at night and keep tired moms-to-be awake.

Folklore dictates that difficulty sleeping during the final week of pregnancy is the body's way of preparing a woman for the fatigue that she'll experience while she's caring for a newborn. According to Babycentre.co.uk, side sleeping is the optimal position for the end of pregnancy, so try this position if you've been sleeping on your back. It might help.

1 The Urge To Nest Will Probably Be Strong


You're a woman and you're a nurturer and caregiver. Soon enough, you'll have a little baby to take care of. That's amazing, isn't it? It's a miracle. During the latter phase of your pregnancy, the urge to nest may become intense. You may find yourself hanging out in the nursery, arranging baby items and baby clothing. You may want to go shopping for baby supplies if you have the energy. You can always order baby supplies online if you don't.

Nesting is natural, beautiful, and very common during the last week of pregnancy. According to Momwithcookies.com, you may also feel like a bit of a homebody. Indulge by spending time at your place.

Sources: Businessinsider.com, Mynaturalbabybirth.com, Parents.com, Everydayfamily.com, Modernmom.com, Newkidscenter.com, 

Babycenter.com, Healthline.com,Bellybelly.com.au, Mayoclinic.org

More in Did You Know...