The following signs indicate labour:

  • Regular, frequent contractions
  • Release of amniotic fluid (see below)
  • Potential passing of a mucus plug or 'show'

Once labour starts you need to contact your doctor and the hospital and tell them you are on the way. Following admission the doctor or midwife will advise you on the stage of your labour and the progression of the birth procedure.

Do not hesitate to re-state your personal wishes and ideas concerning childbirth and pain relief. Your partner is welcome to be present with you during labour and at the birth.

Water breaking
This often termed the first sign of labour but in reality, your labour is more likely to start with contractions. When waters do break, some women hear a popping sound, some don't, and they may have a gush or just a trickle.

Waters often break just before the second stage (pushing stage) of labour, when you are nearly fully dilated, due to the pressure of your baby bearing down.

Indicators that your waters broke include:

  • Having no control over the flow
  • A panty liner is inadequate to absorb the fluid
  • The pad is wet more than once
  • It doesn't smell like urine

If you suspect your waters broke, use a pad, not a tampon and call your doctor or obstetrics unit.