Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

What are the signs of labour - video

2-minute read

Labour is different for every woman and each pregnancy you may have. Here are some of the signs that let you know labour may be starting and baby is on the way.

Signs your labour may be starting

  • Labour usually happen anytime from 37 weeks.
  • Any earlier than this, call your doctor or midwife.
  • Your waters may break.
  • Pressure in your pelvis, loose bowel motions and period-like cramping in your back or tummy.
  • Contractions will start and become more regular and stronger as your labour progresses.
  • If you are not sure if your labour has started or concerned, call your doctor or midwife.
  • Make sure your bag is packed ready to go to the hospital or birthing centre.

For advice and support, speak to your doctor, midwife or child health nurse.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: June 2022


Back To Top

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.