80 Pregnancy and Childbir th
Signs that labor is near
These 3 signs show that labor is starting or will start soon.
They may not all happen, and they can happen in any order.
1. Clear or pink-colored mucus comes out of the vagina.
During pregnancy, the opening to the womb (cervix) is
plugged with thick mucus. This protects the baby and
womb from infection. When the cervix starts to open, it
releases this plug of mucus and also a little blood.
2. Clear water comes out of the vagina. The bag of waters
can break just before labor begins, or at any time during
3. Pains (contractions) begin. At first contractions may come
10 or 20 minutes apart or more. Real labor does not
begin until contractions become regular (have about the
same amount of time between each one).
When any one of these signs occurs, it is time to get ready for
the birth. Here is a list of things you can do:
• Let your midwife know that
labor is starting.
• Make sure that the supplies
for the birth are ready.
I will go and tell Doña
Rosa that your pains
• Wash yourself, especially
• Continue to eat
small meals and
you are thirsty.
• Rest while
The 3 stages of labor
Every birth has these 3 parts.
Stage 1 begins when contractions start to open the cervix and
ends when the cervix is fully open. When it is the mother’s
first birth, this stage usually lasts 10 to 20 hours or more. In
later births, it often lasts from 7 to 10 hours. It can vary a lot.
Stage 2 begins when the cervix is open and ends when the
baby is born. This stage is usually easier than Stage 1, and
should not take more than about 2 hours.
Stage 3 begins when the baby is born and ends when the
placenta comes out.
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