Am I in Labour?

Five tell-tale signs you’re in labour


The waiting game can be gruelling for moms-to-be. Pregnant women spend months preparing for labour, but despite doing heaps of planning and research – many still struggle to recognize the symptoms when they strike. Such cues are often cast aside as Braxton Hicks contractions, indigestion, food poisoning, or even aching muscles. Here are some tips on how to tell false alarms from the real deal.



Muscle pains

As every mother knows, aching muscles are commonplace during the labour process. But when the pain becomes constant and starts resembling a premenstrual-like cramping feeling, women should take it as a cue they could be in labour.

When it’s time to deliver, women might also experience pain in their legs as the baby drops and prepares for arrival. Pelvic pressure will likely increase too.


Losing the mucus plug

The mucus plug, which guards against infection during pregnancy, falls out shortly before labour. This happens as the cervix opens, and often results in mucous-like discharge. It’s usually brown and sometimes tinged with blood. Usually, the dislodging of the mucus plug is a sign that baby is on its way. However, the plug could fall days before childbirth, so there’s no guarantee labour is imminent.



Contractions are tricky signs to figure out. That’s because they often make appearance during pre-labour, yet they’re also a key signal that the child is ready to arrive. When contractions become more painful and intense, it’s because the cervix is opening, clearing the path for baby.


Water breaks

Water can break with an enormous outpouring of liquid, or in a more subtle slow trickle. Both are signs the amniotic fluid that has been protecting baby for the past few months has been released. Particularly when the leak is slow, women can be understandably uncertain of whether the liquid is urine, or amniotic fluid. The two can be distinguished by smell, as amniotic fluid has been likened to the scent of semen.

Aside from sniffing out the answer, try using the washroom, to see whether the leak continues after the bladder has been emptied.


What to do?

Of course, if a woman thinks her symptoms in the real deal, she should get to the hospital immediately. Or, if she’s still unsure, she should call her doctor.



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