The signs that labour has started:
- Painful contractions start 20-30 minutes apart.
- The 'waters' break- this is when the amniotic sac bursts and amniotic fluid comes out. Once this happens the mother should go to hospital (if she's not having a home birth)
- The woman can have a 'show' of bloody mucus from her vagina. This is the mucus plug that seals the cervix coming away.
- The start of labour can also bring on nausea, vomiting, diarrohea and back ache.
First stage of labour- Widening the cervix:
- Contractions are 20-30 minutes apart at the start of the first stage and speed up until they're every 2 minutes at the end of the stage.
- The waters break if they haven't already.
- The contractions gradually widen the cervix. This is called dilation.
- The end of the first stage is called 'transition'. It can be really hard work as the cervix…