Signs and Symptoms of Labour

You’ve waited patiently, or perhaps not, for the final stages of your pregnancy. In fact, by month eight, most expectant mothers can’t wait to deliver their baby already. Thoughts of the actual delivery may bring about a lot of anxiety, but then, knowing that your discomforts will be over can give you a lot of peace.  With the increased Braxton hicks you’re experiencing, you may easily mistake some with false labour. Who knows, perhaps you really are in labour! Let’s see what you need to look out for when it’s time. 


This happens as late as hours into labour and in some cases, a few weeks before. You’ll notice that your baby has dropped lower into your pelvis and you can now breathe easier. On the downside, you may feel like you need to pee more often.

 A “Show”

While pregnant, your cervix is locked by a mucus plug.  Once the plug is released you will notice a blood strained sticky discharge. It could be pink, red or brownish. A ‘Show’ can happen several days before labour, although some mothers experience it when labour starts.


After months of reduced activities, you suddenly have a rush of energy and an urge to do general cleaning. You’ll find it hard to ignore this feeling and end up cleaning every inch of your house. This is an early sign that labour is just about to start. 


Your uterus muscles are relaxing in readiness for childbirth. So is every other muscle in your body, your rectum included. Though annoying, this is a good sign of labour. You may have diarrhoea during the early stages of labour or while it is ongoing. Keep yourself hydrated when you get this

Cramps and Back Pain

When your muscles are shifting in preparation for birth, you may experience cramps and sharp lower back pains. This is a clear indicator that you are almost getting into labour.

Water Breaks

Contrary to popular belief, your water breaking is among the final signs of labour. Most times it usually happens when you’re already at the hospital. It can happen naturally although there are cases where it’s broken at the hospital.

Strong More Frequent Contractions

Usually, an early sign of labour though, if interpreted wrongly, may see you visit the hospital a lot more than required. Braxton hicks are a sign of labour, but to know its true, the contractions will be more intense and spaced consistently. 

What to Watch out For:

  • Contractions become stronger and don’t ease up
  • Changing the sitting position doesn’t help either
  • They become more frequent and painful 
  • Your contraction may follow a pattern and intensify with each.
  • The closer your contractions are apart the closer you’re to giving birth. See more on contractions here.


Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019

Sources: in.pampers, theblueroom.bupa, whattoexpect, whattoexpect

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