Click to view Emergency Department (A&E) waiting times
88 People
Number of people in A&E department
1:37 Hours
Average wait to be seen by a clinician
2:59 Hours
Average time in the department

Signs of labour

Every women's experience of labour is different but there are signs to look out for that may suggest your labour is starting.

During the early stages of labour, it can be uncomfortable but if you try and manage the pain at home until it is time to come into hospital. You can try to make this stage more comfortable:

  • Ask your birthing oartner to massage your lower back
  • Soak in a warm bath or apply a form of heat to your lower back
  • Use a TENS machine - a device which some women find helps manage the pain. 
  • Take paracetamol
  • Sit on a birthing ball and move about

If you have any concerns or unsure you are having contractions please call the triage phone number: 0118 322 7304

How do I know if I am in labour?
  • A 'show' - You may see a pink or brown jelly-like mucus plug that comes away from your cervix. It maybe a sign that your labour is going to start in the next day or so. You do not need to ring us if you have a show unless you are bleeding.
  • Contractions - The muscles in your womb tighten and you may experience pain. Once the muscle relaxes the pain goes away. Early contractions can feel like strong period pains. It’s a good idea to time your contractions. If your contractions last longer than 60 seconds, come in waves of equal strength and are regularly spaced out coming around every three to five minutes for over an hour, then you are likely to be in labour. 
  • Waters breaking - For some women, their waters break before their contractions start. This can be a large amount of fluid or a trickle of water.  
When should I contact the labour ward or Rushey Ward?

Please contact our triage line on 0118 322 7304 if you are are experiencing any of the following:

  • You think you are in labour
  • Your waters break and you are worried
  • You are concerned about your baby moving less than usual
  • You have have vaginal bleeding
  • You have fever, headache, blurred vision or abdominal pain
What happens when I contact you?

When you contact us, we will need to ask some questions to find out about you and your baby. If you are in labour, we will ask you about your contractions including how regularly they are happening, and how strong they feel.

If you have other concerns, we will ask you to tell us what they are, how you are feeling and how you think the baby is doing including questions about its movements. Based on your answers, we may ask you to come into our Maternity Assessment Unit to be checked.