Early labour

Birth position for pregnant woman, husband help wife to relax

Early labour signs 

There are a variety of ways you may experience the beginning of labour and birth; more information is contained in the link below 

During your pregnancy consider the things that will help you to cope while at home and discuss these with your midwife using your personalised care plan. 

You may call the maternity helpline at any time, but we particularly recommend getting in touch if: 

  • You think your labour has started and it is establishing into regular and powerful contractions occurring every 2–3 minutes 
  • Your waters have broken/released 
  • You have any vaginal bleeding 
  • You are worried your baby is not moving as much as normal 
  • You have any other concerns or anxieties or would like some advice 

Your waters may break before you go into labour. If you or your midwife thinks your waters might have broken but are not sure, you should be offered an examination with a device called a speculum. You shouldn't have this type of examination if it is obvious that your waters have broken. 

You will be offered to wait to see if you go into labour (six out of 10 women whose waters break go into labour on their own within 24 hours) or to start your labour artificially – this is called inducing labour. This is because your waters breaking before labour starts increases your baby's risk of serious infection (from a chance of five in 1,000 to a chance of 10 in 1,000 births). 

You can find more information below: 

Labour and birth (nhs.uk) - How to tell if you're in labour and what happens during labour and birth.

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