Signs of Labor

Strong and regular contractions. Although you may experience contractions on and off for several weeks before delivery (known as false labor or Braxton-Hicks contractions), you’re really in labor when:

  • Your contractions are consistently 5-10 minutes apart.
  • Your contractions are so strong you can’t walk or talk during them.
  • You feel pain in your belly and lower back.
  • The pain doesn’t go away when you move or change positions.

Water breaking: You may experience your water breaking as a rush of fluid or just a trickle. For many women, their water does not break until later in their labor after they have arrived at the hospital.

Bloody show: A bloody (brownish or reddish) mucus discharge is another sign that labor is beginning.

If you think you’re in labor, call your health care provider, no matter what time of day or night. Your provider can tell you if it’s time to head for the hospital.