woman holding her pregnant belly

How to Know If You Are in Labor

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
November 15, 2022

It is good to pay attention to your body. Your body can tell you when your baby is on the way.

You may have contractions in late pregnancy. These are tight or squeezing feelings in your belly. If you have them, but they don't hurt, you don't need to go to the hospital yet.

"If you have heavy, bright red bleeding, like a period, go to the doctor right away," says G. Thomas Ruiz, M.D. Ruiz is an ob-gyn at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, in Fountain Valley, California. Also, call your doctor if it feels like your baby as stopped moving for several hours.

2 Signs You Are in Labor

Here are signs you are in labor and should go to the hospital:

  • Your water breaks: This is when fluid from around the baby comes out of the vagina. It usually is in a gush.
  • 5-1-1: This is when your contractions are five minutes apart for one hour. Each one lasts one minute. These contractions will be painful.

Call your doctor when you have questions about what you are feeling. They can help you figure out exactly what is happening.

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