We're baby experts – how to know when you're heading into labour, and when you're about to give birth | The Sun

SIGNS of labour aren't always obvious and the human body often experiences a range of new and or unusual things.

But Fabulous got the low down on what really goes on when a woman is in labour, and exactly what to look for before giving birth.

"Women may be familiar with signs of labour such as contractions and waters breaking but there are also other things to look out for," said Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife.

"Your body and your baby know what they are doing and when they are ready – you will know too."

And don't assume your waters breaking is the only sign because it's not.

"10% of woman’s waters break before labour but that doesn’t mean you’ll go into labour straight away," Emma Armstrong founder of The Naked Doula told Fabulous.

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The bowel empties

"It's common to have the runs in the two days before labour starts (but be otherwise well)," Lesley said.

"This is thought to be the body’s way of emptying the bowel to allow the womb to contract well in labour. "

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A bloody show

"You may lose your mucus plug or have a bloody show," Emma said.

"This is the plug coming away from your cervix and it's a sure sign things are starting."

Lesley said this can happen anywhere between one and three days before going into labour – and it may come away in bits or all at once.


"Mammals enter a phase of heightened awareness of the safety and comfort of their surroundings as labour draws near," Lesley explained.

"That desire to fix a dodgy curtain pole or tackle a half-finished DIY project can be a sign that birth is nearing."

Simply put, the urge to purge, Emma said, and the desire to clean, organise or tidy, despite often feeling slower than usual.

Poor sleep

"The final weeks when we prepare for birth can seem tiresome, but actually insomnia in late pregnancy is training us to get by on smaller amounts of sleep so we cope with a baby," Lesley said.

But while some women feel the need to sleep constantly, others get a sudden burst of energy, Emma noted.

"Every pregnancy and birth is SO different," she said."You may have zero changes at all."

Feeling unsettled

If you can't get comfortable no matter how hard you try, it could be a sign you're about to enter labour.

"If nothing you do helps, no matter how you sit or sleep, [this is a clear sign]," Emma said.

You might also feel the baby's movements or position change.


Period pains or backache is also another symptom that a lot of women experience, however, it’s not always the case for everyone Emma said.

You might feel Braxton Hicks or on-and-off contractions in the days before going into labour.

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