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Going Into Labour

You will not believe this but you would probably know when you are in labour. But if ever in doubt do not leave your deliberations to chance, call up your doctor or go to the hospital. The signs / symptoms of prelabour/false labour/true labour are as follows :

Prelabour symptoms:  can precede by a full month  or few hours before labour. Prelabour begins when cervix begins to open or dilate and thin out (effacement and dilatation) which your doctor can confirm by per vaginal examination.

Lightening and engagement: referred
to as "baby dropping" as the head  has settled deep into the pelvis.  It can occur  a few weeks to few hours before labour, especially in the first babies.
False labour: Can occur when labour is expected to start. Many a women are apprehensive about calling a doctor or disturbing their families, with the fear that the pains may be a false alarm and they would have to return back from the hospital.
True labour:
Contractions: Because of the tightening of the muscles of the womb you feel the uterus hard, experiencing pain in the lowerback spreading to the abdomen or legs. These contractions last about 30-40 seconds and come at regular intervals, about three contractions in about 10 minutes. False contractions are not regular and do not increase in frequency of severity.
Remember: True labour contractions in a second or subsequent baby may remain
quite mild and infrequent until labour is advanced. They can suddenly change to long strong contractions, so avoid delay in calling the doctors.
A show: A moderate amount of jelly like, blood stained discharge from the vagina
Formation of bag of water: Which helps in cervical dilation.
True labour contractions False labour contractions

*Come at regular intervals and get closer
time goes by.

*Irregular and do not get closer.

*Contraction continue despite of
*Contractions disappear when you
  walk,change your position or rest.
*Usually felt in the back, coming round
the front.
*Usually felt in lower abdomen.
*Increase in strength as time passes.

*Usually weak and do not get

*Enema increases the contraction. *Enema subsides the contraction.
*This is associated with show and plug
  discharge of mucus (a slimy discharge
  from the vagina).
*Not associated with show and plug
  discharge of mucus.
When to telephone doctor or inform the hospital:
* The bag of water breaks.
If you have been bleeding.  Rest with the feet up till ambulance arrives.
* You have timed the contractions coming more frequently than 10 minutes.  Remember: Allow time for commute to the hospital or any other inadvertent delay.