Signs and Symptoms of Labor

Last Modified: 5/07/2018

Whether you are having your first, second or third baby, you may wonder whether you are “in labor.” Most importantly, when in doubt, call your physician.

Signs and symptoms of labor include:

  • Contractions approximately three to five minutes apart with regularity for more than one hour. Once a contraction occurs, timing begins. Count how many minutes elapse between your contractions.
  • Contractions increasing in frequency
  • Contractions increasing in duration
  • Contraction pain remaining uncomfortable with rest
  • Pain in your lower back and abdomen
  • Blood-tinged mucus discharges from the vagina
  • Ruptured amniotic sac

You may be experiencing false labor” if:

  • Contractions are irregular
  • Contractions do not increase in intensity
  • Contractions do not increase in duration
  • Contraction pain decreases with rest
  • You are experiencing a small amount of white vaginal discharge
  • There is no amniotic fluid leaking

Notify your physician immediately if:

  • Your amniotic sac ruptures
  • You experience vaginal bleeding
  • Your contractions occur five minutes apart for more than an hour
  • Baby’s movement decreases


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