How do I know when I’m in labour?

I remember this was the number one question I had for my doctor in my first pregnancy was … BUT how do I KNOW when I’m in labour?

I was so worried about making it to the hospital in time and I was becoming increasingly anxious about it that I was constantly looking for signs and symptoms.

Annoyingly my doctors answer was simply “you’ll know.”

Even more annoyingly this was 100% true – though it definitely doesn’t hurt to know what to look out for.

Signs of early labour

+ persistent lower back pain

+ period-like cramps

+ waters breaking (may feel like a gush or a trickle, you might think you’ve wet yourself)

+ bloody show (brown or red tinged discharge)

+ loose bowels (often like what you get around your period)

+ change in mood (emotional, irrational feelings, massive change in energy)

+ contractions are irregular (you can’t time or predict them consistently) and don’t need all of your attention

How do I know if I’m in active labour?

+ contractions are building in strength and intensity

+ contractions are getting closer together and longer (they feel like they’re building)

+ you need to stop what you’re doing, focus and breathe through them

When is it time to go to hospital?

If like me, you’re wondering about whether you’re in actual labour to know whether or not to go to hospital, my answer is: if you’re feeling uncomfortable at home – just go.

If it turns out you’re not in actual labour yet, don’t feel bad – your doctor or midwife sees this all the time. Most likely you’ll be sent home. This is great. The longer you can labour at home, the better. I think it’s best to feel safe and comfortable (especially this close to the end of your pregnancy) and if talking to someone does that, then it’s worth it.

How did you know when you were in labour? What signs and symptoms did you have?

Want to know how to practice safely throughout all three trimesters? Download my free Pregnancy Yoga Kickstart Guide here.

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