Mother and child care
Mother and child care

Getting ready: know the signs of labor

Your bag’s packed. And you’ve made your birthday plan. Now you're just anxiously awaiting baby's arrival, read up on the signs of labor so you know what to look out for.

Normal labor may begin as soon as two weeks early or as late as two weeks past your due date. Typical signs include:


  • Baby's head drops lower into your pelvis in preparation for birth.
  • Feels easier to breathe.
  • See that bump shift down.
  • You also may need to urinate more often, as the repositioning creates more pressure on your bladder.

Bloody show

  • Vaginal discharge of mucus and blood.
  • Indicates the mucus plug sealing your cervix for the past nine months has dislodged.
  • Precedes labor but doesn't necessarily mean it is imminent.

Your water breaks

  • Feel a gush of water or fluid (this is the amniotic sac – the "bag" of fluid that protects the fetus) breaking.
  • Contact your doctor when this happens.
  • Contractions usually start within 24 hours of this event.


  • A sudden urge to pass loose bowels.

Intensifying contractions:

  • If you have contractions, pay attention and take notes (Better yet, hand the pen to your partner).
  • Do the contractions last 30 to 70 seconds?
  • Are they getting stronger, and does the sensation radiate to other parts of your body (back, upper belly)?
  • Are the contractions becoming more powerful, no matter what position you're in or what you're doing?
  • Are they making it difficult to talk or laugh?

If you experience these signs, call your doctor or go to the hospital quickly. Your doctor or midwife can confirm whether you're in labor by checking your cervix. If it has thinned and dilated, your baby is on its way.

Good luck, Mom. Something amazing is about to happen.

If you've had sleepless nights waiting for baby to arrive, remember you'll soon need plenty of rest to keep up with your busy little baby. 

Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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