The early signs of labour are:
- A show (the mucous plug at your cervix comes away and appears as a pinky-brown jelly-like blob or in pieces)
- You might feel pains that feel like strong period pains (these are the start of contractions)
- You might have pain in your lower back that comes in waves.
You may find that your waters break, in which case you know that labour is, or soon will be, under way, or you might start by feeling contractions. These will be different from the practice, Braxton Hicks contractions that you may already have had. They feel stronger, deeper and more painful. Look out, too, for waves of backache, as some women find that this is where they feel their contractions.
Once labour has started, your contractions will become more regular and won't go away! When you are having a contraction every five minutes (and last 30-60 seconds), call your midwife, birth centre or hospital labour ward if you are giving birth there. If you have chosen a home birth, the midwife will come to you.
If this is not your first baby, or you are likely to have a quick labour, your midwife may advise you to call earlier than this.
If you're still not sure whether you're in labour, phone the labour ward or your midwife. They are used to dealing with false alerts so don't worry.
Manage your anxieties about giving birth, with some helpful advice from mums who’ve been there.
The latent phase of labour… so what does this mean? Am I in labour or not?!
As well as your bags for the hospital, you need to have a few things at home for when your baby arrives.
At the end of your pregnancy, you may have some signs that your baby will arrive very soon, even though you may not go into labour for a little while yet.
Only a very small number of babies actually arrive on their due date and the membrane sweep is a drug-free way of helping to bring on labour.
The moment has arrived. Your contractions are regular and building up, and your baby is really on his or her way…
ℹLast reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 19 Oct 2016 - 06:22
iam 40week pregnant , now a days my breast was very smoother and small?
By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Oct 2016 - 14:31
Hello Anvitha, are you concerned about your breasts not being large enough to feed your baby? I'm not sure whether this is your question but the size of breasts rarely affects ability to breastfeed.
Please do get in contact again if you need more information.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 25 Jun 2016 - 09:37
i have lower back for few days and cramps I'm not sure what's happening