Is Diarrhea a Sign Of Labor?

How to Know When It’s the Real Deal

You will have a million questions during your pregnancy. Am I allowed to eat that? Can I work out? How much weight will I gain? And, when your due date is approaching, it’s common to begin to wonder how you’ll know when labor is imminent. Some women may experience diarrhea during pregnancy and wonder whether it’s a signal that their baby is on its way.


New born baby with his mother

How Long Does Pre-Labor Last?

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Your due date is an estimate of when your baby will arrive, and it's certainly not a date you can bank on. Many women go into labor days or even weeks before or after their due date. However, if you are experiencing diarrhea early in your pregnancy, chances are that you are not in labor. Diarrhea can be caused by a multitude of factors. You could be coming down with something or having difficulty stomaching your prenatal vitamins. If your diarrhea is accompanied by dizziness, abdominal pain, fever or if it contains blood, you should call your doctor. But if your due date is only weeks away, diarrhea could be a sign that labor is coming.

Other Signs

Your diarrhea may be accompanied by other symptoms that can help you determine if labor is nearing. Some women may notice their baby has dropped, which means the head has lowered into their pelvic area. You may lose your mucous plug, which looks like a brown or bloody discharge and may appear jelly-like. If your water breaks, labor may occur within 24 hours. The onset of contractions at regular intervals also can signal the start of labor.

Now What?

New born baby with his mother

Why Does Water Break for Some Pregnant Women & Not for Others?

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If you think you are in labor, it’s time to call your health care provider. If your water breaks, it’s definitely time to seek care. Once the amniotic membranes have ruptured, you are at risk of infection. If your contractions are persisting and are only a few minutes apart, these also signal that labor has begun and to contact your health care provider. Other symptoms, including diarrhea, may be signs that labor is near, but they may also occur weeks before the start of labor. To keep both you and your baby safe and to put your mind at ease, contact your health care provider if you have questions about your next steps.

Just as every woman is different, so is every pregnancy. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or your third, determining when labor is near is not an exact science. The signs may be glaring, or they may be subtle. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending. If in doubt, call your doctor or midwife to discuss what you’re experiencing. Their role is to help guide you through the labor and delivery process. Don’t be afraid to tap into their expertise.