Am I in labour?
Know the signs that you might be about to give birth.
(Getty Images)
Shooting pain in the back? Just feeling uneasy? Pregnant women get so used to weird pains at odd times that it’s hard to know when it’s really a sign that your baby’s on the way.

We’ve put together useful Parent24 links to help you make the call. But the rule is: when in doubt, the doctor checks it out.

Not just pain

Many of the signs of real labour are nothing to do with pain. You may feel strange, unsettled, even have diarrhoea. There might be just a little extra moisture or a great gush between your legs. It’s the combination of feelings that add up to a suspicion that this isn’t just another day of aches and swollen ankles. But regular pains that get closer or more intense are the biggest clue that you’ll soon be meeting your baby face to face.

Some of the toughest common questions relate to when to call the midwife or doctor. Most health professionals agree that they would rather you call than don’t even if it turns out to be a false alarm. For example: You might wonder if your waters are really breaking or if you’ve just had a hard kick in the bladder, leading to a urine leak. The amniotic fluid that leaks when your waters have broken has a sweeter, different smell from urine. But if there’s any bloody or pink tinge even if it is urine, don’t hesitate to get moving to the doctor.

If you’re not due for a few weeks but feel any regular or intense pain, err on the side of caution and give your doctor a call. And of course, any blood from your vagina needs to be checked out. You could just be in premature labour.

Some moms get a little desperate waiting for the bump to move down, which is a sign that the baby’s head has engaged in the pelvis and labour is not far away. But sometimes the bump on moves down once the labour has already begun. And pretty much none of the old wives tales to bring on labour work, from sex to pineapples.

Those last few weeks of waiting can seem endless. As Parent24 blogger Megan says: ‘I feel so honoured to have been given this opportunity to "grow" a little person inside of me, but I must admit, these last two weeks have felt longer than my entire pregnancy!’

How did you know you were in labour? Tell us in the comment box below, or email your birth story to


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