Collaborative Post¦ Everyone is different, and everyone’s experience of labour will be different. Even if you have had a baby before, you may know the telltale signs, but even so, each baby is different too. However, as there are some changes that take place in pre-labour and early labour, then you should hopefully be able to know when it’s time.
Typical changes you will notice when you’re in labour include persistent lower back pain or abdominal pain, and you might feel cramps similar to period pains. You might also have painful contractions or tightenings that may be irregular in strength and frequency, and may stop and start.
It is not uncommon to get Braxton-Hicks contractions and to mistake them for real labour contractions. But there are differences. Braxton-Hicks vary in duration and frequency; they also occur sporadically, tend to be less painful and usually only cause discomfort in the front of the abdomen.
Real contractions last around 30–70 seconds and occur at regular intervals, they also become more frequent as labour approaches and are more painful than Braxton-Hicks contractions. Changing positions or moving in other ways often stops Braxton-Hicks contractions, but this isn’t the case for real contractions. Put your hand on your belly during a contraction, and you may feel your womb harden as the muscle contracts.
It’s possible that your waters will break, but this is not usually like you see on television and you might even have to have your waters broken once you’re in the hospital.
You could also have what is called ‘the show’ which you might notice in your underwear. When you are pregnant, a small plug of mucus blocks the entrance to your cervix, but as you begin the early stages of labour, your cervix starts to stretch as it gets ready for the birth and this mucus plug starts to come away. Not everyone will experience this, but if you do, then it is one of the signs of labour.
Other things you may experience are an upset tummy or loose bowels, or you might be feeling emotional, excited, moody, restless, anxious or impatient.
Once labour gets going, your contractions will become more regular and they will continue. It is now the time to call your midwife. However, it is not time to panic yet; it’s just a call to let them know that you’ll be coming in shortly. If you’ve been using an app throughout your pregnancy and tracking every step, then the chances are you can monitor your contractions on this too. If not then there are plenty to choose from such as Contraction Master, Full Term and Pregnancy+ and if you really want to know what’s going on with your body, you could get Bloomlife, the trusted, award-winning pregnancy tracker, the world’s first and only wearable for pregnancy.
When you are having a contraction every five minutes that last 30–60 seconds, then it will be time to go in. If this isn’t your first baby, then you will probably have a quick labour, but when you speak to your midwife, she or he will let you know when you should go to the hospital.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post
Welcome to my blog! I'm Laura, a 28 year old first time mum. I live in Kent with my high school sweetheart husband Dave, and our daughter Autumn. When she came into the world in September 2016, we knew that life would never be the same again!
I write about my experiences of parenting, as well as my plethora of interests including fashion, beauty, cars, weddings and the home.
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