How to tell if your labour has started

All mums-to-be worry if they’ll know for sure when their baby’s on the way. Re­move all doubt with th­ese 10 fail-safe signs…

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - M&bawards -



Dur­ing preg­nancy, a mu­cus plug sits at the neck of your cervix and pro­tects your uterus by help­ing to keep out in­fec­tions. It’s a blob of ph­legm-like jelly, usu­ally the size of a 20 cent coin, which is fre­quently pale but can some­times be stained with blood. The plug may come away when you’re uri­nat­ing (in which case you’ll prob­a­bly just no­tice a streak of blood), or you may find it in your pants. This can be a sign that labour is on its way and is called ‘hav­ing a show’. You can lose the mu­cus plug a few hours to a week be­fore labour be­gins, in one big piece or just grad­u­ally, bit by bit.


As you en­ter labour, your breasts will start to swell. Your nip­ples will be­come ten­der and more re­spon­sive and you might feel a tin­gling sen­sa­tion. This is your body get­ting ready to breast­feed your baby. You may also no­tice a leak­ing of colostrum from your nip­ples in the weeks be­fore birth. This clear fluid is packed full of an­ti­bod­ies and is de­signed to help pro­tect your baby, through her first feeds, when she fi­nally emerges into the world.


A pain in your back can be a sign that your baby is ro­tat­ing into the right po­si­tion for labour. This can take a few days and might be quite painful. It can also be due to the lig­a­ments in your pelvis re­lax­ing, to al­low your baby the room to fit through.

By the time labour starts, your baby will also have dropped, with her head down­wards, into the start of your birth canal. This causes phys­i­cal pres­sure on your back, which can also make it ache.

Back­ache can also her­ald the start of con­trac­tions, as some women ex­pe­ri­ence them more in their back than in their stom­ach. Try a heat pack or warm shower to help ease back pain.

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