Flu-Like Symptoms Before Labor: Are These Dangerous?

Flu-like symptoms are subtle signs of impending labor and delivery. It may include sneezing, runny nose, body pain, and headache. Sometimes, you will even experience a mild cough. But these signs are normal, although it varies from woman to woman. These symptoms are nothing to worry about, and they will mostly disappear in a few days.

The flu-like symptoms may occur a few weeks before your delivery date. It happens as your body prepares itself for the labor and hormonal changes kick in. Thus, it will also give you hindsight to ready the hospital bag by the door already.

Subtle Signs of Labor

For most moms, swelling of the feet is a good sign that you are on your way to the labor room. When your swollen feet gradually puff out, you may also go into labor.

It’s almost a traditional belief that edema in pregnancy is but a precursor to labor and delivery. However, edema is a common sign that stretches even from the beginning of your first trimester until the delivery.

Here are some of the subtle and unusual signs that you may experience a few weeks before labor:

Flu-Like Symptoms

One of the onsets of labor is developing some flu-like symptoms before the body highlights cramping and pain. A week or two before your delivery date, you may tend to feel sick and nauseous.

Body pain is also common, although your thermometer may not always register a fever. Sometimes, a slight cough and runny nose also occur.

Pregnancy, in no doubt, lowers a woman’s immune system. And as the body looks forward to labor pain, it causes some feelings of sickness. Some women may feel anxious about it with the looming risk of pre-term delivery.

But unless it progresses into a severe symptom, it is nothing to worry about. What you should expect are the cramps and contractions that will happen anytime soon.


A young pregnant woman is having back pain as a result of possibly going into labor soon.

As you clock the 37th week of your pregnancy, you will experience bouts of lower backaches.

During this time, your baby’s head will mostly settle down your cervix. As a result, it will push additional pressure on your nerves and spine and cause pain. Backaches will tend to get worse as the pregnancy progresses.

Braxton Hicks or false contractions also happen several weeks before delivery. It is a series of painful contractions and backaches that disappears but returns stronger than before.

Once you experience a full spectrum of intense back pain, it is an absolute indication of labor.

The intense pain or back labor pain will also get worse during contractions and subsides in between it. But don’t worry, all the nagging pain on your back will disappear after the delivery.

Changes in Bowel Movements

Anytime nearing your due date, loose stools are also a common nuisance. As your body prepares for delivery, your hormones also change rapidly.

These hormonal variances loosen up the muscles in the uterus, cervix, and rectum. It is the body’s normal way of clearing itself and preparing for the baby’s passage.

Along with diarrhea, you may also experience heartburn or menstrual-like cramps.


How should I prepare for labor and delivery?

Aside from practicing your breathing technique and Kegel exercise, you also need to prepare yourself physically and mentally. Eat the right food, have enough rest, and continue with light exercises. It gives your body a better advantage from labor pain.

When to contact the doctor about flu-like symptoms in pregnancy?

The flu-like symptoms of pre-labor are unpleasant but not intense. These symptoms also disappear in a few days but will not progress and worsen. However, if you are experiencing fever, chills, or extreme vomiting, contact your doctor.


Flu-like feeling and sickness close to the baby’s due date is a normal body process. It is its way of preparing for your little one’s arrival. These symptoms are a part of the labor process, although it varies from every woman’s experience.

When things like this begin to happen to you, it means that the big day is almost near. So, brace yourself and prepare to meet the little human that will change your priorities forever.

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Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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