Saw this on the net while surfing and thougt it might come in useful here.... Labor can occur at anytime towards the end of the third trimester. Knowing what type of labor you are experiencing can be confusing to a lot of soon to be mothers. Some moms have an instinct and know exactly when their baby is arriving. This tends to be especially true of mothers that have had babies before. For new moms, this is all new and unexpected. So, just what can you expect towards the end of your pregnancy? Pre-labor Pre-labor is the symptoms you experience as your body is preparing itself for your baby's arrival. A lot of the signs can be confused with true labor. Towards the end of your pregnancy you will notice these changes: * Increase in pressure on the pelvis * Change in energy (either decreased or increased) * Vaginal discharge * Loss of mucous plug * Braxton Hicks contractions * Engagement of the baby into the pelvis All of the above can occur up to 4 to 6 weeks before the actual onset of labor. False Labor Labor can occur at anytime of the day, but it is known that a lot of labors occur at night due to an increased amount of a hormone the body produces while you sleep. However, false labor can occur at night as well and can be easily confused with true labor. Some signs that you are not in true labor are: * Contractions are irregular and are not especially painful. * Pain may be in the lower abdomen and not in the back. * Contractions (Braxton Hicks) go away when you change position. These signs can seem like labor is about to begin, but it's not. That is not to say that true labor cannot begin at any time. True Labor When true labor begins, it is recommended that you put into order your prearranged plan of action. You should have your doctor's number handy as well as arrangements for who will take you to the hospital, etc. The signs of true labor are : * Pain. You will notice pain in the lower back area radiating towards the front of your abdomen and sometimes into your legs. * Contractions intensify and become regular. Pain doesn't cease with a position change. Start timing your contractions to indicate the amount of time in between contractions. This information will prove very useful to your doctor or practitioner on when your baby may be arriving. To time contractions, measure the time elapsed from the start of one contraction to the start of another. * Bloody show. This indicates that mucous plug has detached and you will produce a bloody discharge. * Your water may break. For some, this happens as labor begins, for others the doctor may have the honors. You should know that after the water breaks, your contractions will probably become more intense and painful. * Diarrhea. Sometimes women experience an urgent need to go to the bathroom when labor begins. Most experience diarrhea and some feel like they have to go, but can't. Both are signs of true labor. Please know that labor is different for each woman. A good rule of thumb is if you are in doubt, call your doctor or practitioner.