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PRE-LABOUR

As you get towards the end of your pregnancy, you're likely to wonder just when your labour will start - and also, perhaps, how you'll be able to tell that it has started.

There are various signs that might occur in the days leading up to labour, which may show that you don't have long to go.

Braxton Hicks

Braxton Hicks contractions are 'practice' contractions, or strong tightenings of the uterus, which can be quite painful. You can distinguish them from real contractions because they'll stop if you rest for a moment (if busy) or get up and do something (if you've been lying down).

Weight loss

Just when you thought you couldn't get any bigger, you may suddenly find you weigh less. You'll still be feeling increasingly uncomfortable, though, with perhaps breathlessness, swollen legs and insomnia at night.

Nesting instinct

As these months draw to a close you may experience a strong urge to clean, tidy and sort things out.

False labour

Sometimes women experience 'false labour', when contractions appear to start, but then fade away again. This can go on for as long as two weeks. These 'false labour' contractions are usually part of the prelude to labour, and are an indication that labour will get going very soon, but they can be very frustrating.

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