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It’s completely normal to be a little worried about how you will know you are in labour when you are expecting your first (second, third, or more) baby. Early labour has so many variations and even the same person rarely begins labour the same way. So, what are some of the ways to recognise early labour?

Labour may begin with mild, inconsistent contractions that become increasingly stronger, closer together, and more intense. Some people experience strong, regular contractions from the onset of labour and others never experience consistent contractions.

Prodromal labour is when early labour contractions do not progress into consistant, productive contractions and may last days or even weeks on and off. This can exhausting and frustrating for the parents. We have some tips to help with prodromal labour on our post Labour for Days.

Vaginal Discharge

Sometimes called “losing your mucous plug” or “bloody show”, a thick mucus-like discharge can be an indicator that labour is imminent. If you experience fluid-like discharge this may be a sign that your amniotic sac is leaking and your “water has broken”.

Check out ​What if My Water Breaks? for some excellent tips on how to tell if your water has broken, what you should know about your amniotic fluid and what to do if your water breaks.

Loose Stools

Your muscles are loosening up to prepare for your baby’s birth and this includes your rectum. Some experts have suggested that this is the body’s way of making more space for the baby to be born or the body’s way of helping ensure your birth is tidy.

Worried about pooping during your baby’s birth? We have a blog that may help alleviate some of your fears about pooping when pushing.

Flu-like Symptoms

Nausea, vomiting and/or indigestion, without a fever may occur in the days or hours leading up to labour.

Feeling Emotional

All of the ups and downs may leave your feeling like your emotions are just under the surface. The hormonal changes involved in labour onset can have a significant impact on how you feel. Often women “just feel off” right before the real thing begins.

Just Knowing

Sometime you “just know”. Trust those instincts and rest up for the main event.

We welcome our birth clients to call as often as needed. Your doula can help you figure out what is going on with your body and whether or not you are in labour. If your early labour is long, the support of a doula can be invaluable. ​Having support that encourages you, reassures you and your partner, and is an expert on comfort measures for childbirth will be extremely beneficial. Download our free PDF printable 5 Signs of Labour to keep on your fridge and check out our other printables!

What were some of the signs you experienced before you knew you were in labour?

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