Phase 1 of labour is called latent or early labour. This is usually the longest of the three phases. It is also generally the least intense and least painful. Your uterus starts contracting. The contractions can be either mild or strong. They can be either regular or irregular and need not follow a consistent pattern.
Sometimes, you may not feel them at all. Cervical dilation is the indicator used to measure the progress of labour. By the end of this phase, the cervix is dilated to 3 cm.
Some typical symptoms of Phase 1 labour are:
Contractions that last for about 30 to 45 seconds each with about 5 to 30 minutes gap between them
Back pain that is constant or during contractions
In some cases, the rupture of amniotic membranes
You may experience all or some of these during Phase 1 of labour. However, remember that the rupture need not take place in Phase 1. It can take place in any of the three phases of labour. If the amniotic fluid appears greenish due to meconium or red because of vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor immediately.
Also, keep her informed if you think you cannot feel any fetal movements.