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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…


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