Early labour! What’s happening, what to expect, and how to cope.

Early labour can be a difficult time. So many questions and so many sensations! The midwives talk about what you can expect before labour and in early labour. 

In summary…

Before labour you might experience:

  • loss of your mucous plug – or not. Read more about this here
  • nesting, when you want to get everything organized and ready.
  • lightening, when your baby engages in your pelvis.

In early labour you might experience:

  • irregular mild contractions very low in your belly that may come and go
  • some bloody show

This is different than Braxton-Hicks contractions because:

  • Braxton Hicks Contractions are generally not painful
  • are irregular
  • may last longer than a minute
  • feel like your belly is turning into a basketball

In early labour your body is doing valuable work:

  • your cervix is getting softer, 
  • your cervix is getting shorter,
  • your cervix moves from pointing towards your tailbone to pointing towards your vagina
  • your baby may be getting into an ideal position.

And one more thing…

As early labour progresses, especially if one has a long early labour, it can become quiet difficult to manage. Partly this is because your brain is still working like it always does. Sometimes people wonder, “if this is what early labour feels like then I don’t know if I can cope with active labour!” 

Don’t worry. It will be ok. In our next blog post we will talk about how the brain changes in active labour in order to help you cope. 

We have a list of of suggestions of what to do – and what NOT to do – when you are in early labour. 

Want it? 


We hope this is helpful. Remember, you’ve got this!



Genia is a midwife and lactation consultant with Generations Midwifery Care. You can read more about Genia here.