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False Labor

You are nine months pregnant. Your belly is huge, you are uncomfortable, you are ready for your baby to come, and voilà! Almost as if you willed it, you feel a contraction. Is this it? Are you in labor? Or is your body just teasing you, letting you hope, just to end up going to bed and trying to get to sleep again that night while you toss and turn?

What is false labor, and how will you know is the difference between the real thing and false labor? False labor can appear in many forms. Many people will feel Braxton Hicks contractions for months, and associate this as false labor. As you get closer to the end of your pregnancy, your BH contractions might come more frequently and intensify, making it very hard to determine if they are the real thing

There are several things you can do to determine if your labor is false or real. Start by timing the contractions. If they are sporadic and do not increase in frequency or intensity, it is likely to be false labor. If you begin to see a pattern in your contractions, however, where they are coming several times an hour on a regular basis, and they are lasting 30-60 seconds each, this might be a sign that labor is on its way.

If you are feeling contractions, there are things you can try to see if they stop. Take a walk, drink a couple tall glasses of water, take a warm shower or bath, or try lying down on your left side for a while. Some of these things may stop the intensity and frequency of the contractions. If they stop, then it is false labor.

If you are not yet 37 weeks pregnant and you are experiencing what you believe is not false labor, you should call your doctor or midwife to see what they suggest you do. If it is after 37 weeks then you are generally considered full term, and unless your provider has mentioned any reason for you to come in early, you will be able to stay home and at least try to relax for as long as you are comfortable.

Most women do have false labor signs several times before the real thing hits. For first time moms it can be exciting and irritating at the same time, involving many trips to the hospital, just to be sent home because the contractions stop. Moms who have been through the joys of labor may generally not be so quick to head to the hospital, but it won’t make the anticipation any less. The thing to remember is that eventually the false labor will turn out to be real labor and your baby will be arrive.

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5 Comments on "False Labor"

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[…] time. Not only was I older but I was also under a great deal of stress because I had gone into early labor at six months and had been confined to home and bed rest along with being on a monitor for […]

7 years 7 months ago
I’ve had BH since before easter (now july 16th) and I’m 35 weeks completed. So a few days ago my contractions got regular, really really regular. went from about every 9-10 min for about 1-1.5 min long all the way to every 5-6min and same duration. they were stonger then the majority of bh i have been having for 4 months so i got really excited…baby was coming (its be a terrible pregnancy and im SOOOO ready to have her) so off i went to the midwife. and they hook me up to the monitor and i see both baby… Read more »
7 years 8 months ago

Well I would have to say that the more pregnancies you have the harder it is to distinguish between true and false labor. I have 5 kids and I went to the hospital with the first 4 and was n labor everytime now the 5th I went 3 times and all 3 were false I ended up getting induced. Im am pregnant with my 6th and I have already been to the hospital once w false labor and im 38 wks and hoping when I truely go n labor it will b obvious I hate not knowing.

8 years 2 months ago

This is great!! I am just 27 weeks & a first time mom.. I was scared & wondering how would I know when I’m going into labor or not when the time come. The info you give on here is just right thank you for your help

9 years 10 months ago


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