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How will I know labor has started?

I am pregnant with my first child and wondering how I will be able to tell that labor has actually started? Are there some signs I can look for?

Allison Phillips | Obstetrician

Allison Phillips

Signs of labor vary from woman to woman, as each woman experiences labor differently. Some common signs of labor may include:

Bloody Show

A small amount of mucus, slightly mixed with blood, may be expelled from the vagina indicating a woman is in labor.


Contractions (uterine muscle spasms) occurring at intervals of less than ten minutes are usually an indication that labor has begun; contractions may become more frequent and severe as labor progresses.

Rupture of amniotic sac (bag of waters)

Labor sometimes begins with amniotic fluid gushing or leaking from the vagina. Women who experience a rupture of the amniotic sac should contact their physician immediately. The majority of women with ruptured membranes go into labor within 24 hours. If labor still has not begun after 24 hours, a woman may be hospitalized for labor to be induced. This step is often taken to prevent infections and delivery complications.

If a woman feels unsure if labor is beginning, she should always call her physician.

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