Responsive Settling

How To Know If You're In Labour

Written by One Mama Midwife

Comfort Items From Birth and The Dummy Debate

The lead up to your due date is both exciting and nerve wracking. As your due date approaches, you may be wondering if every little twinge or new feeling is the start of labour. Thus, leaving you wondering “How will I know if I’m in labour”. Here are some signs to watch out for to help you determine if you’re in labour.

In the lead up to labour starting you may experience:

1. Period pain or lower back pain: When your baby is descending into the pelvis and labour is imminent you may start to experience back pain or period pain. If you are concerned or have pain that is constant, always contact your healthcare provider immediately. 

2. Losing your mucous plug: Your mucous plug is a collection of mucous that the body produces to sit at the base of the cervix to reduce the risk any infections getting to your baby. When your labour is near, you may notice that you lose this mucous plug. This is not your waters breaking and you don’t need to tell your healthcare provider unless you are concerned.

3. Nausea and vomiting: When your labour is near you may experience that your nausea and/or vomiting has returned.

4. Nesting instincts: As you near the end of your pregnancy, your hormones are steadily increasing to help prepare your body and your baby for labour. With this means that you may experience a nesting instinct. You may feel a sudden need to clean the whole house or pack your hospital bag in preparation for the arrival of your baby.

5. Hormonal outbursts: As the hormones are preparing for labour and birth, you may experience hormonal outbursts or mood swings. 

Once your labour has begun you will experience:

1. Contractions: This may seem obvious, but contractions are the most common sign of labour commencing. Contractions occur when the muscles of the uterus tighten and then release to help move your baby further down into the pelvis and birth canal. Unlike Braxton hicks, labour contractions come regularly and will continue to increase in intensity over time. Labour contractions will not stop and start and will not go away.

2. Your water may break: Sometimes when you go into labour your water may break.Your baby is living in the amniotic sac surrounded by amniotic fluid, when this sacbreaks the amniotic fluid will come out in either a big gush or a slow trickle. It is important to note the colour of your fluid and alert your healthcare professional if the fluid is a green colour or has an offensive odour. It is important to note that your baby will never slow down with their movements in the lead up to labour. You should still feel your baby moving normally in the lead up to and throughout your labour and birth. If you are ever concerned about your baby’s movements, contact your healthcare provider immediately – never wait.

In conclusion, every woman’s body is different and the way that their body goes into labour will be different also. If you ever have any concerns, it is always best to contact your healthcare professional for advice and guidance. Remember, going into labour is a massive milestone, try to stay calm and enjoy your last few weeks of pregnancy.