Labor and Delivery

Signs of Labor

Giving birth is a natural process. Your body is designed to give you cues that labor is going to start soon. Here are some of the ways it might let you know, “It’s time!”

You have contractions

If you feel contractions regularly every 10 to 15 minutes, especially if they don’t go away when you move around, labor has probably started. Learn how to count your contractions to determine whether or not you’re in labor.

Your water breaks

This usually means labor will start within a day. If your water breaks or if you think you might be leaking fluid, call your labor and delivery department. Let us know when it happened and what color the fluid was, and we’ll walk you through what to do next.

You have bloody discharge

This is sometimes called a “bloody show,” and it happens when you pass the mucus plug that sealed off your uterus during pregnancy to protect your growing baby. It’s one of the steps your body goes through to prepare for delivery, and it could mean labor is about to begin. However, sometimes it happens 2 to 3 weeks before your baby is really ready to arrive. Call us if it happens to you, and we’ll let you know if it’s time to head to the hospital or not. 

Your baby drops

If you’re a first-time mom, your baby might start settling into your pelvis a few weeks before you deliver, so it’s not always a sign of labor. If you’ve given birth before, you’re more likely to go into labor right after your baby drops.

No matter how much you’ve prepared, it’s normal to be unsure, anxious, or a little bit scared when you start labor. Just stay calm and give us a call. Kaiser Permanente delivered more than 101,000 babies last year, so you’re in good hands with your labor and delivery team.