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5 Signs Of Labour Every Expecting Mother Should Know

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more


Just as each woman is unique, so is her pregnancy and onset of labour. Delivery symptoms (signs that delivery time is nearby) can differ from one woman to another and may change from one pregnancy to the next for the same woman. It can take hours or even days to feel the symptoms of labour pain in the 9th month. 

The latent phase or the earliest signs of labour is when the cervix becomes soft and thin and starts opening (dilating) for the baby to be born. In today’s blog, we will look at the most common symptoms of labour pain in the 9th month and some effective tips for expecting moms. 

Signs of Labour: Most Common Symptoms of Labour Pain

Although it is difficult to precisely predict the onset of labour or how long a woman’s labour will last, there are a few common signs of labour that are initiated when the fetus produces certain hormones. Here are 5 popular signs of labour every expecting mother should know: 

1. Lightening:

One of the lesser know signs of labour experienced early on by first-time pregnant mothers is what doctors refer to as “lightening”. When the baby is preparing for birth, it slowly moves into a head-down position. This can happen anywhere between a few hours to a few days before labour begins.

Lightening eases the pressure on a mother’s diaphragm and makes it easier for her to breathe, but it also puts more pressure on her pelvis and bladder. Mothers who have previously given birth, may or may not have this delivery symptom until right before labour begins. Either way, the mother’s belly may appear lower and more protruding and result in frequent bathroom visits.

2. Contractions:

Towards the end of pregnancy, these symptoms of labour pain get stronger and more frequent. Contractions help push the baby down through the birth canal and ultimately help the mother to push the baby out into the world.

If the pregnant woman is having more than six contractions every hour or every contraction is less than five minutes apart for more than an hour or two, the baby is on its way.

3. Water Breaks:

An unborn baby in the uterus is surrounded by a protective liquid called amniotic fluid. When this amniotic fluid sac ruptures, the mother experiences a gush of liquid or in some cases a slow trickle, we call this type of discharge before labour a water break.

For some women, water breaking signs may not happen at all, in which case an obstetrician or midwife will break it during the delivery, while for others the water may break during labour or some time before it. Once the mother experiences water breaking signs, the baby is no longer protected by the amniotic sac and is vulnerable to infections, so make sure you head to the hospital or call your doctor right away.

Inform your doctor immediately if the waters are smelly or coloured and if you’re losing blood, as this could mean you and your baby need urgent attention.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

4. Show:

A pregnant woman may notice an increase in a type of discharge before labour’s onset or several days before it. The vaginal discharge which comes when the plug of mucus from your cervix (entrance to your womb or uterus) comes away, is a mix of pink, brown and slightly red in colour, indicating cervix dilation symptoms.  

5. Cramps, Nausea and Diarrhoea:

The onset of labour increases the pressure or cramping in her pelvic and rectal areas, causing pain in the abdominal area and lower back. In addition, some pregnant women may experience delivery symptoms like vomiting or have frequent loose stools at the beginning of labour.

Women will often self-present to obstetrical triage with concern for the onset of labor. Common chief complaints include painful contractions, vaginal bleeding/bloody show, and fluid leakage from the vagina.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Final Thoughts 

All in all, contact your doctor or maternity clinic if you experience the signs of labour mentioned above. Symptoms of labour pain in the 9th month can be painful and exhausting of all trimesters, so make sure to stock the pantry with your favourite snacks and (isotonic) healthy drinks that can help keep her energy levels up. 

The birthing partner can also help relax the mother with a pregnancy self-care routine made up of warm baths, back massages and other stress-relieving activities.  

If you’re experiencing any signs of labour and you’re fewer than 37 weeks pregnant, be sure to call your doctor away as they could be a sign of preterm labour (labour before 37 weeks of pregnancy

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Also Read: How To Wash Out Sperm To Prevent Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Contraception Guide

Lastly, if the pain is too intense at the beginning of labour, breathing exercises with your birthing partner are extremely helpful in dealing with contractions once they get more painful and frequent.  

Stay positive and follow your doctor’s instructions at every step.

Pharmeasy Tips– If you are excessively anxious and worried about the birthing process and labour pain, follow these tips-

  1. Talk to your doctor and clear all your doubts
  2. Practice meditation and deep breathing 
  3. Consult a counsellor and learn some relaxation techniques

Also Read: 11 Superfoods to Eat During Pregnancy

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.



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