Signs of labour
Leading up to your birth it is very common to experience Braxton Hicks Contractions. At Hypnobirthing Australia, we like to refer to them as practice surges and they are a great time to put your Hypnobirthing techniques into practice.
Braxton Hicks are a tightening of the uterine muscles for one to two minutes and help prepare the body for birth. Not all mums feel (or notice them) and they normally become more noticeable the further along in pregnancy you are.
There may be times when you think you are in labour, but then the surges abate.
So, how will you know you’re actually in labour?
Some common indications that you’re in labour include:
- Membranes releasing (Also commonly known as waters breaking)
- Period Style Cramping
- Tightening Sensations
- Back Ache
- Feeling of being constipated
- Diarrhoea/ Soft motions
Often we see in TV shows and movies that when a woman’s membranes release there is this massive rush to get to the hospital. However, there is no need for the big rush to the hospital. Most of the time, when nature is left to take its own course; membranes release during labour, often right before or at the time of birth.
If your membranes release and there are no surges – then you need to contact your caregivers. Caregivers are normally comfortable with you going into natural labour within 24-72 – however this can differ, so check with your caregiver.
If your membranes release at home – put on a maternity pad so you can check to ensure that the fluid is clear. If there are particles in it, or it is coloured or has a putrid odour – then this could be a sign of meconium in the waters. In which case you will need to contact your caregivers immediately and you will probably require extra monitoring to ensure baby is ok. It isn’t the end of the world if you have meconium – it isn’t always due to fetal distress, it may actually just be a sign that your baby’s bowels have developed sufficiently and they have done their first solid poo in utero. However, you will require extra monitoring to ensure baby is ok and hasn’t ingested the meconium which can sometimes lead to meconium aspiration.
If your membranes release, the fluid is clear, but surges haven’t started, then you need to remove stress and relax – go home if possible.
We recommend staying at home for as long as possible as the familiar environment and scents allows labour to progress smoothly.
Here are some common indications it’s time to make you way to Birth Centre/ Hospital:
- Trust your instincts. You will reach a point in your labour when you’re no longer comfortable at home.
- When you’re consistently having 2-3 surges (also known as contractions) within a 10-minute period. Surges last about a minute.
- Phone the maternity ward and let them know that you’re on your way. Ask for a midwife who is familiar with hypnobirthing and/or natural birthing techniques.
When in doubt always contact your caregiver for advice.