Initial Signs of Labour
Contractions are when your uterus tightens and then relaxes. In the beginning these usually vary in length and strength. As the labour progresses contractions last longer, become regular and stronger – this is when they can become more painful. There is a lot you can do to help at this stage and we have plenty of self-help techniques to support you.
Losing your membrane plug or ‘show’. This is a mucous plug which sits within your cervix. As your cervix starts to soften and thin, this mucous plug comes away and you usually have a sticky loss which may be blood stained. Please call your maternity unit if you are concerned. Any fresh red loss of blood needs to be reported to your maternity unit as soon as possible.
Backache and/or period type pains.
Waters breaking – for most women their waters break whilst they are in labour but for some women this can happen before contractions begin. This can feel like a slow trickle of water or a sudden gush. The amniotic water is the water that surrounds the baby and is a clear or pale straw colour. If you think your waters have broken, it’s important to call your maternity unit straight away. If you haven’t already, most women will start to get contractions after their waters have broken. Sometimes this doesn’t happen and the option to induce the labour may need to be discussed with you as there is an increased risk of infection after the waters have broken. If the water does not look clear and you see blood or a green colour you should let your maternity unit know as soon as possible.