Ready, Set, Baby!
Hey, mama! Prepare yourself to embark on the wildest roller coaster ride of your life – the imminent arrival of your little bundle of joy! Labour is an incredible adventure that may be physically and emotionally taxing, but it is also a source of enormous joy and fulfilment. It is a testament to the human body's power and perseverance, as well as the unique love between a mother and her child. By the end of this article, you will be able to:
Explore the signs of labour—those subtle and not-so-subtle cues that your baby is getting ready to meet the world.
Discover the secret language of your body during labour
Find guidance on recognising and interpreting signs of impending labour
2. Get ready for the epic arrival : Signs of labour to watch out for
3. Preparing and managing upcoming labour
4. Managing your body for a comfortable delivery
5. Frequently Asked Questions on Labour.
Get ready for the epic arrival : Signs of labour to watch out for
The moment you've been waiting for has finally arrived – it's showtime, and your little superstar may be ready to make their grand entrance into the world! By understanding and recognising these 3 main indicators, you can better prepare yourself for the incredible experience of childbirth.1
Contractions or tightenings that feel like period pain
Regular contractions that become stronger, longer, more rhythmic and closer together are a surefire sign that labour is starting.2 Get ready to time those waves of sensation as your body gears up for delivery.
A ‘show’ - when the plug of mucus from your cervix (entrance to your womb, or uterus) comes away
There's a plug of mucus in your cervix that develops during pregnancy to protect the baby.2 This mucus comes away just before labour starts, or when in early labour, and it may pass out of your vagina.3 This sticky, jelly-like pink mucus is called a show and is a clear sign of impending labour.3
The sudden, dramatic gush of amniotic fluid immediately followed by the onset of regular intense contractions is one of the most important signs that labour is well underway. This is the final sign of labour most women experience — and it happens naturally in only around 15 percent of births or fewer and can indicate that active labour is 24 to 48 hours way.1
Preparing and managing upcoming labour
As the big day approaches, it's essential to equip yourself with the knowledge and strategies that will help you navigate the experience with confidence. From physical preparation to emotional resilience, there are numerous ways to prepare for signs of labour and effectively manage the intensity of the process:
Education is Empowerment: Knowledge is your greatest ally when it comes to labour. Take the time to attend childbirth classes, read books, and gather information about the labour process.4 Discuss your birth preferences with healthcare professionals and family, ensuring they understand your desires and can provide the assistance you need.4
Build a Support Team: Surround yourself with a strong support system. Whether it's your partner, a close friend, or a doula, having someone by your side who can offer emotional encouragement, physical comfort, and advocacy for your needs can make a world of difference.5
Breathing Techniques: Breathing exercises are an effective way to manage pain and promote relaxation when experiencing the first signs of impending labour. Practise different techniques, such as slow, deep breaths or rhythmic patterned breathing, to help you stay focused and calm. These can help you ride through contractions and create a sense of control over your body's responses.6
Managing your body for a comfortable delivery
Preparing your body for labour and birth is an essential part of ensuring a smooth and positive experience. Some of these tips may help you:7ˢˣᵸ
Regular exercise during pregnancy can help you build stamina and maintain strength during the early signs of labour. Engage in activities such as walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, or low-impact aerobics, as recommended by your healthcare provider.
Maintain a healthy diet
Nourishing your body with a well-balanced diet is crucial for both you and your baby's well-being. Focus on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Pelvic floor exercises
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can provide valuable support during labour and aid in postpartum recovery. Kegel exercises are a great way to target these muscles.
Stay calm and bring on the adventure
It is important to remember that every labour experience is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Trust in your body's ability to birth your baby, and know that you have a range of innate tools and techniques at your disposal to manage and navigate this incredible journey. With preparation, support, and a positive mindset, you can navigate labour with confidence and welcome your little one into the world.
Join the Enfamama A+ Club today for free samples and discover the early signs of labour and prepare for the arrival of your little one!
Frequently Asked Questions on Labour
Let's dive in and discover the answers to your burning questions on the signs of labour and delivery.
How do I know when I'm in labour, and when should I go to the hospital?
Common signs that labour is approaching include regular and increasingly intense contractions, lower back pain or pressure, a "bloody show" (mucus tinged with blood), and water bag breaking (rupture of the amniotic sac)1
Are eating and drinking allowed during labour?
Drink water and eat a light meal before heading out to the hospital - nothing too heavy or high caloric. This is just to keep your energy going for birth.8
How long after experiencing signs of labour should I expect to give birth?
Labour is often different for each person. Some have quick childbirth and some have a long, difficult gestation until delivery.10 It is always best to get yourself to the hospital as quickly as possible.
What pain management options are available during labour?
There are various pain management tools - from breathing techniques to medication. Discuss your options with your healthcare provider beforehand to develop a pain management plan that aligns with your preferences and medical needs.⁹
What if my water breaks but I am not experiencing contractions?
If your water bag breaks but you are not experiencing contractions, it is still important to contact your healthcare provider. They will provide guidance on next steps.10
Regina Victoria Boyles, MD
Manila Doctors Hospital
- Different Types of Childbirth
- Pregnancy Exercises That Ease Your Labour
- Checklist for Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery
- Ready to pop? Know the Signs of Labour & Facilitate Delivery
NHS UK. Signs that labour has begun. Page last reviewed: 30 November 2020. Next review due: 30 November 2023. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/labour-and-birth/signs-of-labour/signs-that-labour-has-begun/.
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Giving Birth. Early Signs of Labour. Last reviewed: November 2021. Retrieved from https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/giving-birth-early-signs-of-labour.
Healthy Moms and Strong Babies. Contractions and Signs of Labour. Last reviewed: December, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/birth/contractions-and-signs-labor.
Medline Plus. What to bring to your labour and delivery. Review Date 4/19/2022. Updated by: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000543.htm.
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals. Labour: What happens and how it can be managed. Issue Date: October 2013. Review Date: October 2015. Retrieved from http://www.swbh.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Labour-What-happens-and-how-it-can-be-managed-ML42463.pdf.
- Breathing exercises and visualization. © 2023 Beaumont Health. https://www.beaumont.org/treatments/breathing-exercises-visualization.
s.Pelvic floor muscle training for prevention and treatment of urinary and faecal incontinence in antenatal and postnatal women. 2017 Dec; 2017(12): CD007471. Published online 2017 Dec 22. Stephanie J Woodley,corresponding author Rhianon Boyle, June D Cody, Siv Mørkved, and E Jean C Hay-Smith. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6486304/.
x. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Medically reviewed by Stacy Sampson, D.O. - By Tracy Stickler - Updated on July 9, 2020. © 2023 Healthline Media LLC. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/healthy-pregnancy#weight-gain.
h. Exercise tips for pregnancy. Medically reviewed by Daniel Bubnis, M.S., NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS, Fitness - By Angel Miller - Updated on May 31, 2023. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290217.
Cochrane. Eating and Drinking During Labour. Published: 22 August 2013. Authors: Singata M, Tranmer J, Gyte GML. Retrieved from https://www.cochrane.org/CD003930/PREG_eating-and-drinking-in-labour.
- NCBI. Pain management for women in labour: an overview of systematic reviews. 2012 Mar; 2012(3): CD009234. Published online 2012 Mar 14. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7132546/
My Cleveland Clinic. Labour and delivery. Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/16/2022. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9676-labor-delivery.