The signs you need to look out for
The first stage of labour can last for hours, so the first thing to remember is not to panic when the signs of labour start. Signs you are in early labour may include a combination of the following:
- A show - the plug of mucus that has been sealing your cervix comes away
- Your waters breaking
- A cramping feeling - a bit like period pains
- Feeling bloated, constipated or a bit of pain in your tummy
- Diarrhoea or nausea
When should I call my midwife or the hospital?
As soon as you think you’re in the early stages of labour, get in contact. They’ll want to know the timings of your contractions and any other symptoms. Remember, if your waters have broken you should always call them straight away. They’ll help to advise you on when you should go into hospital.
What is slow labour?
No two women are the same. Some have a fast labour. Others have a slow labour. But if things slow down too much it can be necessary to speed them up a bit.
Different hospitals have different definitions of ‘slow labour’. But the main way to spot the signs of slow labour is to measure the rate at which your cervix dilates. If this is less than 0.5cm per hour over a four hour period, Mother Nature might need a helping hand.
Don’t worry. Your midwife knows all about slow labour signs and will regularly check how you’re getting on. If she detects slow labour symptoms, she’ll talk to you and your doctor before deciding the best way forward for you and your baby.