Between early labour, active labour and Braxton hicks contractions how can you really know when you are in labour? Unfortunately this can be difficult, as labour is very specific to each woman- for some it progresses quickly and for others it’s a slower process. And some women like to go through labour in the comfort of their own home, while others want pain relief as soon as possible!
And while you are more than ready to meet your little one at this stage, your body has a lot of work to do before it’s time to start pushing…
Here are some of the signs of labour;
A show is a plug of mucous in the neck of your womb. It is usually a thick consistency and can sometimes have a small amount of blood. A Show can indicate changes to the neck of the womb or that it is beginning to soften and open and that you are going into labour. However, it doesn’t mean you need to jump in the car and go to the hospital! You can have 2 or 3 Shows before going into labour and some women will have signs of a show up to 2 weeks before labour begins.
So keep note of it and if you are in anyway worried, give the maternity ward a call.
Unfortunately babies cannot be born without contractions! Contractions usually begin with a dull ache or tightness in your lower back (like you get during your period). When they start, they are usually spaced widely apart don’t last long- every hour, every 30 minutes, gradually becoming stronger and more regular. It can take hours and sometimes days for contractions to become regular. For a first time mother, the average labour is 6-8 hours.
When you are getting 3 contractions that last up to a minute within 10 minutes, it’s time to call your Labour Ward, and be ready to head to the hospital when they tell you too. Just remember to keep track of them!
If your waters break you need to ring your maternity hospital ASAP! They can then advise you of your step. Take note of the colour of the water when they break, the easiest way to do this is using a maternity pad or sanitary towel. If you have a little puddle under you dab the pad in it and will be able to tell the colour.
Not all women experience the dramatic movie scene of the waters breaking and flooding the surrounding area, some will just feel a constant trickle and only realise as their underwear feels damp! So if you think your waters have gone do get checked out.
Unfortunately your waters breaking doesn’t always mean that you’re in labour! Most women will progress into labour but there are a few who may need to be induced after 24hrs of no action.
If you are in labour now, or about to be soon, remember to keep calm and relaxed. This will help your body to release the hormone oxytocin, that you need for your labour to progress. It can help you to cope with the contractions, so do whatever you can to stay relaxed- watch a movie, go for a walk, or take a long bath or shower to relieve some of the aches and pains.
It’ll all be worth it, as soon you’ll have your little one in your arms!