Signs of Labor
May 28, 2019
As the end of the third trimester nears, the anticipation of labor and delivery can be overwhelming. Similarly, many women experience something called false labor. This is where the body mimics symptoms of labor but does not actually go into labor.
So how can you tell if what you are experiencing is false labor or true labor? There are three key factors to pay attention to: timing of contractions, signs during movement, and intensity of contractions.
Timing of Contractions
In false labor, the timing between contractions is often irregular and do not get closer together as time progresses. These are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. In true labor, the contractions typically come at regular intervals and, as time goes on, become more frequent with each contraction lasting between 30-70 seconds.1
Signs During Movement
In false labor, contractions may stop when you walk, rest or even change positions. In true labor, contractions will continue, despite moving or changing positions.1
Strength & Pain of Contractions
False labor usually involves contractions that are weaker and pain that is felt only in the front. Contractions may be strong and then weak. With true labor, contractions steadily increase in strength and the pain typically starts in the back and moves toward the front.1
Remember, although it can be uncomfortable or even painful, false labor is normal. If you are unsure whether you are experiencing false or true labor, call your doctor immediately and describe your symptoms.
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