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Sure signs of labour

sure signs of labour

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They say that once labour begins you can’t mistake it for anything else. However, as the majority of mums can attest, it’s not quite so simple as that. Our bodies have ways of tricking us, especially when you’re actively looking for signs. If you’re a soon-to-be mum here are some sure signs to help you know that you’re definitely in labour.

A ‘show’

For many women, the ‘show’ is the first sign that labour is coming on. Pregnant women have a plug of mucus in their cervix, which comes away when labour is close to starting. The plug may be passed through the vagina and you might notice it when you go to the loo. It can come away all together or in small pieces and will be jelly-like and sticky (lovely!)

Don’t’ worry if it’s tinged pink with blood, it’s perfectly normal to lose a little blood with the mucus. Some women don’t have a ‘show’ at all and even if you do, that doesn’t mean you should call the midwife immediately. You may go straight into labour or you might have to wait a few days before labour starts. However, if you do lose your plug you will know that labour isn’t too far off.

Back pain

As labour approaches you may experience back and abdominal pain, similar to menstrual cramps. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in labour but it is an indicator that labour will probably come soon. You may also have loose bowels or an upset stomach as your body prepares for the birth.

sure signs of labour

Waters breaking

Again, not all women’s waters break during labour and for some the waters will break beforehand. If yours do break then it’s a sure sign that you’re going to meet your new baby soon. Unborn babies are settled inside an amniotic sac during pregnancy. When the baby is ready to make an appearance the sac breaks and the amniotic fluid, or the waters, contained in it leak out through the vagina. The water may come suddenly or as a trickle. It should be odourless and as it is straw coloured, it may be difficult to tell apart from urine. If your waters break and they are smelly or coloured then you should call your midwife. You should also get in touch if your waters break before you go into labour as your baby will no longer be protected against infection.


One of the most obvious signs of labour is contractions. This is when your uterus begins to contract then relax again as your body is ready to give birth. Contractions are more intense than Braxton Hicks, which you might have experienced towards the end of your pregnancy, and often feel like tight period cramps. They serve to open your cervix and push your baby down to be born. As labour progresses the contractions will become longer and there will be less time between them. Most women prefer to stay at home until contractions become frequent. When they last over 30 seconds and arrive at least every five minutes then it’s time to call the midwife or let the hospital know you’re coming in.





About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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