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Maternity Services

What to do if you think you are in labour

What to do if you think you are in labour

It can sometimes be difficult to decide whether or not you are in labour.

Early signs of labour can occur over several days and may include backache, uncomfortable tightenings (also called Braxton-Hicks contractions), a show or mucousy vaginal loss and needing to use the toilet frequently.

As labour progresses you should begin to notice contractions that become stronger and more frequent. Your waters may break, although the volume of fluid lost varies greatly from one person to another and can sometimes be missed.

You should phone the delivery suite or birth centre to talk to a midwife:

  • When your waters break, whether or not you are having contractions
  • If you have any fresh red vaginal bleeding
  • When your contractions are regular and increasing in strength or when they are approximately 5 minutes apart.
  • If you notice that your baby’s movements have reduced
  • If you have any concerns. It is not unusual to phone several times for advice and support during the early stages of labour; some women will come in for assessment and then return home until labour is further advanced.

Sharoe Green Unit  Delivery Suite                     01772 524495

Preston Birth Centre                                             01772 528223

Chorley Birth Centre                                             01257 245116 


If you are advised to come to the hospital or birth centre, please tell the midwife if you do not have anyone who can bring you. You should not drive if you are in labour.


Please remember to bring your hand-held notes.


On arrival, both the Sharoe Green Unit and Chorley Birth Centre have a limited amount of short stay parking near the front door. Birth partners are asked to re-park in the main car parks as soon as possible after escorting you to the delivery suite or birth centre.


At the Sharoe Green Unit, please report to the receptionist on your arrival; the desk is open 24 hours a day. If the outside doors are locked there is an intercom system to the right of the door.


If you are arriving at Chorley Birth Centre after 5.30pm you will need to use the door bell and intercom at the main maternity unit door (not the antenatal clinic entrance) to let the midwives know you have arrived. Before 5.30pm, you can make your own way up to the Birth Centre on the second floor. Please use the intercom if you need any assistance.

Get in touch

Chorley and South Ribble Hospital

Preston Road



01257 261222

Royal Preston Hospital

Sharoe Green Lane




01772 716565

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