Every first time mum wonders whether they will recognise that labour has really started. After nine months of your body going through changes, will you know when the big moment has arrived? Here are three signs that you’re going into labour:
1. Bloody Show
Bloody show is the passage of a small amount of blood or blood-tinged mucus through the vagina near the end of pregnancy. It can occur just before labour or in early labour as the cervix changes shape, freeing mucus and blood that sealed the cervix during pregnancy.
Not all women notice this discharge, and some women begin contractions before the mucus plug is discharged.
Don’t confuse this with a brownish, bloody discharge you might experience after a vaginal exam at any of your final appointments with your midwife, which is totally normal.
2. Your waters break
Although a lot of people think this happens to all expectant mums, it only actually happens to about one in four women.
The amount of clear amniotic fluid that escapes also differs from woman to woman. For some it’s just a little trickle – for others it can be a gush.
It can actually occur during labour instead of before it.
When it happens prior to labour, however, there’s a good chance that labour will start within 24 hours. If your water breaks, note the time it breaks, the colour and amount of fluid, and whether there is any foul odour. Then call your midwife and let her know all of this.
The most obvious sign that that you’re in labour, is the start of regular contractions. At first, these early contractions feel like period cramps or a low backache that comes and goes.
Gradually, the aching or cramping becomes stronger and lasts longer. The contractions also get more frequent, until they come every three to five minutes.
It is recommended that you time your contractions and write down the exact time each one begins and how long it lasts.
Your midwife/hospital will advise you as to when you should go to the hospital/birth centre, if that is your chosen option.
Hold tight, your baby is on its way…