Re: I'm 38 weeks, dilated to 1 1/2 cm and fully effaced. I have been uncomfortable, but haven't noticed anything real dramatic as far as excessive pain until last night. My lower back is absolutely killing me, to the point of it hurting to much to walk. Should I be prepared that labor will soon follow or just get rest and pay attention to the overall signs of labor as my body sends them?
Everything you describe is completely normal for a term pregnancy (pregnancy after 37 weeks of gestation). Unfortunately, I can’t predict when labor is going to start. It could be tonight, or it could be weeks from now. The most important thing is to stay well-hydrated and to have a plan in place for when you do go into labor. Pack your bag for the hospital now, if you haven’t already done so. Talk to your doctor about when he/she wants you to call and come into the hospital. And, make sure you have a way to get in touch with your partner at all times.