3 Early Signs Of Labour We All Must Know

Bayo Ajibola

Signs Of Labour

Signs Of Labour

First time mums in their third and final trimester all think about one thing, ‘How will I know when I am in labour.’

Here are 3 signs to show that you are in labour

Water breaks

This simply happens when the amniotic sac (the fluid filled sac which surrounds the baby) ruptures, resulting in amniotic fluid trickling or gushing from your vagina. However, let it be known that very few women experience their water breaking before contractions set in. When a woman’s water break, it could either be a trickle or an enormous flood.

Some indicators that your waters that have broken are:

  • You have no control over the fluid trickling or gushing out
  • Panty liner can not absorb the fluid
  • The pad is wet more than once
  • It doesn’t smell like urine

On the dour of the fluid, some women describe their waters as smelling a bit like ‘semen’ and will be clear or have a pink tinge in color. If it happens that your water is green, brown or any other colour you should be checked by your doctor or midwife.


Mucus Plug / ‘Bloody’ Show

This happens when your cervix begins to dilate (open) and the thick mucus plug that helped seal your cervix during pregnancy (to prevent infection reaching the baby) might come loose, this could be discharged either partially or wholly from your vagina.

On the appearance, your mucus plug might be watery or sticky and jelly-like in appearance. For some women, they notice either a brown, pink or red tinge to it.



When your contractions become regular, then you know your baby is ready to be born. For early labour contractions most women say it feels like period pain. For some other women, it comes in form of a lower backache at 20 to 30 minute intervals. The pains radiate from back to front, or vice versa sometimes.

To time your contractions, simply count how many seconds there are between the start and the end of the contraction. Another way to time your contractions is by counting the minutes between the start of one contraction and the start of the next. You should note that for contractions that lasts for roughly a minute and approximately 3-5 minutes apart are a good sign that you’re in labour.


New mums should know that It’s very possible to experience contractions without your cervix dilating.

To know if you are in pre-labour, rather than established labour the following are experienced.

  • Your contractions are irregular
  • The contractions remain on the same level, it does not become stronger as time passes.
  • Your contraction stops when you change position, you get a massage, you walk, eat or drink
  • The contractions are short or may last several minutes

To know that you are in established labour, your contractions will:

  • Not stop or slow down, regardless of frequency and your activity
  • Be in a fairly predictable pattern (e.g. every eight minutes although some women have regular contractions every 5-10 minutes throughout)
  • Become increasingly closer together
  • Last longer
  • Become stronger (walking usually makes them stronger)
  • Build up, have a peak, then reduce


Bayo Ajibola

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