Signs of labour

Everyone experiences labour differently, but it’s important you stay well hydrated, fed, relaxed, and ready to call us when it’s time.

An early sign that your body is getting ready for labour is a show.

A show

What's a show?

A show is when the mucus plug from your cervix comes away which indicates your cervix is preparing to open.

It’s perfectly normal for this sticky substance to contain a small amount of blood, and it can be clear or pink.

Everyone is different. Some mums might see a show a few weeks before labour, some might never notice it.

It’s normal to experience the show along with backache or tightening.

Labour differs for everyone. Sometimes your labour will quickly follow the show, and others might take a few days.

But if you’re unsure, you can call the delivery suite triage for reassurance. The number is in your notes.

Waters breaking

Your waters breaking are another sign of labour. Sometimes it’ll happen before your contraction start, but often it’ll happen during labour.

If your waters break naturally, you will either feel a slow trickle or a sudden gush of water that you can’t control.

Once your waters have broken they will continue to flow, so it’s best to wear a sanitary towel.

At this point, call triage even if your contractions haven’t started. The number is in your notes.


Finally, you’ll start to feel contractions. For most mums, they feel like period cramps or a mild tightening.

The strength of your contractions, and how often they happen, may be irregular too. They might come and go over a few days.

When your contractions feel strong, come every two to three minutes, and last up to one minute, call triage even if you’re having a home birth. The numbers are in your notes.

Alternatively, if you’ve booked the birth centre for your delivery, you can call delivery suite or the birth centre. Again, the numbers are in your notes.

Another sign of labour to look out for is vomiting or diarrhoea. Eat what you can and stay hydrated to keep your energy levels up.