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How Will I Know if I'm in Labour?
Prelude to Labour
Before you actually go into labour, you may experience some signs alerting you that your body is preparing for baby to be born. These are not events that will happen to everyone, but about 2-3 weeks before baby is due, one or more of the following may occur:
Onset of Labour
Labour has begun if you experience one of these 3 signs:
As labour begins, contractions may be felt as mild menstrual-like cramps, gas or intestinal upset. It is easy to confuse these early contractions with intestinal upset because soft bowel movements often accompany the beginning of labour. You may feel these contractions in the back or in the front, just behind the pubic bone. At first, these contractions may be irregular, but as they continue they will become stronger, longer, more frequent and develop into a regular pattern.
• The "water" breaks
The amniotic sac may rupture releasing the fluid in a gush or a small trickle. This can happen at any time during labour.
The vaginal discharge may become pink-tinged. This bleeding is from small blood vessels in the cervix which break as it opens.
False Labour or Pre-labour
During the last weeks of pregnancy, some women experience false labour which would be better named pre-labour because these contractions prepare a woman's body for labour.
Despite the benefits, the disadvantage is in distinguishing prelabour from labour. A pregnant woman can be fairly confident that you are experiencing pre-labour if:
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