Here you are, at the homestretch. Almost a father, experiencing a combination of nerves and joy. You may also be a little bewildered as there’s no definitive ETA on your little one.

The wife is at her most uncomfortable and you are probably sitting on Daddy’s Digest, looking up the signs of labor.

She may not experience them all and some may not be visible to you. But our quick guide will help you ask the right questions and determine when you should head to the hospital.

So, here they are.

Braxton Hicks Increase:

Also known as false labor, the frequency of these ‘practice’ contractions increase towards the end of the pregnancy.

The Baby Drops:

Your partner will feel lighter as the baby starts moving lower into her pelvis.

Loss of the Mucus Plug:

Also known as a ‘bloody show’, not all women notice this sign. Ask your partner if she has noticed stringy mucus or discharge that is clear, pink or blood tinged.

The Water Breaks:

As seen on TV, this “dramatic” discharge of amniotic fluid can be a sign of labor. It is important to distinguish between urine and the amniotic fluid (odorless).

Additional signs:

Nausea, Loss of Appetite, Loose Stools, Rhythmic Back Pain, Shivering.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, Consistent Contractions is a sure sign. During early labor they may fall 20-30 minutes apart, but when they are consistently 5 minutes apart, it’s time to call her doctor. 


The only real indicator of an ETA is the dilation of her cervix. Fully dilated and ready for birth is 10 cm. It’s also the only sign that requires a qualified medical professional to determine.

Remember to verify information and ask your doctor for their opinion. Our guide is meant to outline the facts, but every situation is unique and requires the final word of a qualified medical care professional.

Wondering what to carry in the hospital bag for delivery?

Also ready about The APGAR Score for Newborns.

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