Contraction Timing

When the day has arrived for you to go into labour it is really common for your birth partner to want to start timing the contractions from the start.

No one will be able to tell you what your labour is going to be like both in length or intensity. But it’s an exciting and nerve wracking time. We are here to help!

Just to give you an idea of what your contractions will look like here is a lovely little guide from childbirths. Understanding the terms here are important so here’s a quick guide:

Duration is how long the contraction goes for and frequency is the time from start of contraction till the start of the next contraction.

When Do You Start Timing?

Initially you don’t need to do any timing as the contractions (usually) will start fairly lightly and only go for a matter of a few seconds. So stay away from the timing for as long as you can. I know that partners want to be helpful and it’s something for them to “do” but it’s not necessary and only really increases your anxiety. So what should you do at the start..

Night Time Contractions

If your contractions start during the night (which is really common) it’s best to go to bed and make yourself as comfortable as you can and sleep or rest. Going through labour overnight can be really tiring so having as much rest as you can in the beginning is really important — as exciting as it can be!

Day Time Contractions

If your contractions start during the day it’s best initially to keep yourself as distracted as you possibly can to let them establish. Don’t exert too much energy in case you end up going overnight. But this is a great time to sing, sway, clean or do jigsaw puzzles. Anything that keeps the mind occupied and not concentrating on what’s to come. The more you can just get used to the feeling and let it do it’s thing the better.


When the contractions start getting to a point where distraction is no longer possible it might be time to see how far apart your contractions are, and how long they go for.

In the Preggas app we have built a Labour Mode which has a contraction timer, so you can listen to your selected breathing or mindfulness sessions without having to leave to have someone time your contractions.

We have created an average for you in case you’re talking to your midwife or doula and they ask what the frequency and duration are.

You can delete previous ones and you have all the information you need to pass on.

You shouldn’t need to time more than 3 contractions to give you an idea of how they are going. Depending on your agreement with your midwife or doula you can make the calls you need to.

The team at Preggas wish you the very best of luck with your labour and hope you have a safe arrival of your baby/babies.