Labor Signs Overview
The onset of labor is the most anticipated event of pregnancy. Many pregnant women fear they will miss the early signs of labor and be unprepared for the delivery of their child. Fortunately, the body provides several clues that the onset of labor is approaching. There are also signs of pre-labor that indicate that the body is preparing for delivery in the weeks to come. Since a normal gestation is 40 weeks, signs of pre-labor may be apparent at 38 or 39 weeks' gestation. In most cases, labor begins between 37 and 42 weeks after the last menstrual period. Of course, labor may also begin prematurely in some cases. Although gestational age can predict to a certain extent when the signs of labor and pre-labor will develop, there is no proven way to predict precisely when labor will begin.
Jane K Witman, MD
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