in-labour

How will I know I am in labour?

What to look out for

The signs to look out for

Your hospital bag is packed and waiting by the door, your due date has come (maybe even gone!) and you are wondering if your baby is ever going to make an appearance – when something happens that leaves you thinking: is this it? Am I in labour?

At a glance

  • The first signs of labour can differ from woman to woman
  • Once your contractions start, call your midwife
  • Take a bath or go for a walk to pass the time as it can be a long wait
how-will-i-know-i-am-in-labour

You will probably notice a few changes in the later stages of your pregnancy, which are all pre-cursors to labour starting – you might have more vaginal discharge, an urge to nest, and more frequent Braxton Hicks contractions. Your back might be aching more than usual as your baby goes right down into your pelvis.

First signs of labour

The first signs of actual labour, or early labour, can differ from woman to woman – some might have a 'show' in their knickers (the mucus plug coming away from the womb), others might have their waters break right at the start, while some might launch straight into contractions.  The main signs, though, are considered to be strong, regular contractions along with a 'show'.

Your 'show' will be a pink and jelly-like – it might come away as one blob, or in several pieces. It is perfectly normal to lose a little bloody mucus along with it – although if you are bleeding more than this, contact your midwife straight away.

When your waters break

If your waters break before your labour starts, phone your midwife for advice as there can be a risk of infection once the water surrounding your baby has gone.  Some women feel the 'pop' as their waters break, and you might experience their loss either as a full on gush or just a little trickle. Either way, it is a sure sign that your baby is on their way.

Contractions

If you start having contractions it’s useful to time them before you contact your midwife, so she can asses what stage of labour you’re at. Midwives can tell a lot by talking to you on the phone in early labour (from your breathing, voice etc) and if you are planning a hospital birth, she will probably suggest you stay at home until your contractions are coming frequently and your labour is established.

She may suggest you go into hospital for an assessment, but even then, you might find you end up back at home until labour really kicks in. It can be a real waiting game so if you can, try and pass the time by doing something you love, take a bath or go for a walk (if you can manage it.)

Care to share? Speak to other mums in the Bounty Community on what their first signs of labour were.

At a glance

  • The first signs of labour can differ from woman to woman
  • Once your contractions start, call your midwife
  • Take a bath or go for a walk to pass the time as it can be a long wait
The main signs of labour are strong, regular contractions along with a 'show'

How will I know I am in labour?