How do you know you're in pre-labour?

Pre-labour is when your body is doing a lot of preparation for your upcoming labour. You may experience back pain similar to period pain. You may notice mild regular contractions, and your cervix is softening and preparing to open. You can also experience loose bowels or have a bloody show. All of this is normal.

Signs of pre-labour

  • May have back pain similar to period pain
  • Mild but irregular contractions
  • Cervix softens and prepares to open
  • Increased mucus
  • May have mucus/bloody show
  • Waters may leak/break

What should you do?

  • Rest, sleep and conserve your energy
  • Eat and drink
  • Continue your daily activities
  • Sit on a ball / go for walks.

You don't know how long your labour is going to be, so it's important to pace yourself to conserve your energy. Pre-labour often happens at night, so stay in bed and practice your breathing techniques to relax and then sleep during the day if necessary.

It's normal to feel anxious and excited at this time. However, remember to do things to help you relax and conserve your energy. Continue with your daily activities and rest as much as possible.

For some women pre-labour can initiate actual labour. For other women pre-labour can continue for days as the body prepares for birth. This is completely normal. Use pre-labour as a way to practice your relaxation and breathing techniques.

How you work through pre-labour can have a huge impact on the rest of your labor. Think of labour and birth as a marathon. You wouldn't start a marathon sprinting the first 5 km's only to be left with no energy for the rest of the marathon.

If actual labour does start, it's a really good idea to just stay in bed and wait until the contractions build up to something that is quite consuming.

If you are wondering whether you are in labour or you're not in labor, then you're probably not. When labour starts you'll know and you'll need to put all of your attention into working through the contractions.

So during pre-labour take it easy and just rest wherever you can.

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