Am I in labour?
Wondering if you’re in labour is very common for new mums towards the end of pregnancy. How can you tell if you’re already it’s pre-labour or if you’re in the first stage of labour? It can be very confusing indeed.
I spent the last 6 weeks of my first pregnancy thinking every twinge was an indicator labour was about to start, when it fact it was only Braxton Hicks. These are uncomfortable and minor contractions, but not labour. (Believe me!) Whenever I asked my own mum if I’d know when I was labour she’d nod wisely and say: “You’ll know.” She was right.
Here are 3 key ways to recognize that labour is starting:
This is when the mucous plug that blocks the opening of your cervix comes away. It’s a jelly like substance and will break off in in small or large amounts, and is can be clear or pink or stained with blood. This mean labour could be either hours or days away.
This is when the amniotic sac surrounding your bub breaks and you will have a gush or a trickle of fluid. Make sure you contact your labour provider when this occurs and let them know whether the fluid is clear or has a colour of any kind.
Just so you know, it’s rare for this to happen before labour is fully established. In fact only ten percent of women have this as a sign labour is on its way.
There is a big difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and ‘real’ contractions. The main one is that you will probably be unable to speak during a ‘real’ contraction whereas Braxton Hicks, while painful and uncomfortable pass fairly quickly, and are usually fairly irregular. Either way, if you are unsure always ask your midwife or healthcare provider. It’s also worth timing the length and frequency of these as well. This will help you figure out if labour has begun.
Like childbirth itself, the experience of the early stages of labour will differ for everyone, but these are the most common signs that you will soon be delivering a baby.
Do you think you’ll know when you’re in labour? Or if you’ve had a bub before, what signs did you have labour was about to begin?