Once Labor Begins

Contractions become progressively more frequent and painful, and generally (but not always) more regular. The intensity of contractions does build up once real labor begins. They intensify rather than ease up with activity and position change. The frequency increases - although it may not be perfectly even. We usually recommend that first time Moms call when frequency is 3-5 minutes for 2 hours. Subsequent pregnancies can usually be based on past history. False or early labor usually starts in the lower abdomen and may radiate above the belly button, as well as, to the legs.

If your membranes rupture or you think they may have ruptured, this will present itself as a gush or a leak. Note the color. The fluid should be clear, but may be greenish or greenish-brown. It may feel like uncontrolled continuous urine loss and the two can be difficult to distinguish sometimes. If in doubt, just call.

If you notice bright red blood in excess of a tablespoon amount - especially if the bleeding continues in an amount equal to or as much as a menses. "Bloody Show" is usually a pinkish or brownish tinged mucous discharge. This can also be noticed after an internal exam or recent intercourse. "Bloody Show" does not necessarily mean labor will start - it could be less than an hour or 3 weeks away. You should call for bleeding, but "Bloody Show" is to be expected. If in doubt, however, please call.