Labor Signs Overview
Call 911 if:
- The woman has severe vaginal bleeding.
- The woman has severe stomach or pelvic pain.
- The woman has a seizure.
- The woman loses consciousness.
- The umbilical cord is bulging into the vagina with gushing or leaking fluid.
1. Look for Signs of Labor
Signs that labor has begun include:
- Contractions that come at regular intervals, increase in frequency, do not stop when the woman changes position or relaxes, and may cause pelvic pressure and discomfort or dull ache in the back or lower abdomen
- A sudden gush or a steady trickle of fluid when the amniotic membrane ruptures
- Clear, pink, or slightly bloody mucus discharged into the vagina
- The fetus lowers into the pelvis, which may cause more frequent urination
2. When to Call a Health Care Provider
Call the health care provider right away if:
- In first pregnancy, contractions are very uncomfortable and coming every 5 minutes for 1 hour.
- In subsequent pregnancies, contractions are coming every 7 to 10 minutes for an hour.
- The woman's "water breaks" (amniotic membrane ruptures), even without contractions. She should avoid baths, douching, tampons, or sexual intercourse.
- The woman has vaginal bleeding (more than spotting).
3. Follow Up
- The doctor will tell you when to go to the hospital if the woman is having a hospital delivery.
- At the hospital, the woman will be briefly interviewed and then taken to the labor and delivery area.