Early signs of labour
Giving birth will be different for every woman, but the main signs that you learn during Antenatlal classes are starting labour will most likely be strong, regular contractions, and a ‘show’. During your pregnancy, a plug of mucus sits in your cervix. A show is when that plug of mucus comes away, indicating that the cervix is starting to open.
Other signs that you are going into labour can include:
- your waters breaking (rupture of the membranes)
- backache, or an upset stomach
- cramping or tightening, similar to period pain
- a feeling of pressure, as the baby’s head, moves into the pelvis
- an urge to go to the toilet caused by your baby’s head pressing in your bowel.
Stages of labour
There are three stages of labour.
- The first stage is when your contractions increase, and your cervix begins to open up (dilate). This is usually the longest state.
- The second stage of labour is when your cervix is fully open. This is the part of labour where you help your baby move through your vagina by pushing with your contractions.
- The third stage is after the birth of your baby when your womb contracts and causes the placenta to come out through the vagina.
You should contact your doctor if:
- Your waters break, or if you suspect you're leaking amniotic fluid.
- Your baby is moving less than usual.
- You have vaginal bleeding (unless it's just a small amount after a membrane sweep or the blood-tinged mucus of the show).
You have a fever, severe headaches, changes in your vision, along with abdominal pain.