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Signs of labor include strong and regular contractions, pain in your belly and lower back, a bloody mucus discharge and your water breaking. If you think you're in labor, call your health care provider. Not all contractions mean you're in true labor.

  • If your water breaks you'll be in labor soon. Generally, rupture of membranes (water breaking) occurs when you go into labor, but in some cases, a woman may have her water broken in the hospital.
  • Stage one labor: There's no telling how long it will last. This is where childbirth preparation classes pay off. Breathing techniques and others methods of coping with pain are important now.
  • Labor stages two and three: After a lot of work, prepare for joy. After the active labor of the first stage, you will move into the second stage, pushing baby out, and the third stage, expelling the placenta or the afterbirth.
  • Childbirth's last phase: The afterbirth - The placenta, which was so key to your baby's health in utero, is expelled after the birth, signaling the last phase of labor.
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