Many women, especially first-time mothers-to-be, think they are in labor when they're not. This is called false labor.
Tip:Time them. Use a watch or clock to keep track of the time one contraction starts to the time the next contraction starts, as well as how long each contraction lasts.
|Contraction Characteristics||False Labor||True Labor|
|How often do the contractions occur?||Contractions are not in a regular pattern, and they taper off and go away.||Contractions become regular, stronger, and more frequent.|
|Do they change with movement?||Some women find that a change in activity, such as walking or lying down, makes Braxton Hicks contractions go away.||Contractions continue despite movement or changing positions|
|How strong are they?||Contractions are usually weak and do not get much stronger. Or they may be strong at first and then get weaker.||Contractions steadily increase in strength.|
|Where do you feel the pain?||Contractions are usually only felt in the front of the abdomen or pelvic region.||Contractions usually start in the lower back and move to the front of the abdomen.|
Even with these guidelines, it can be hard to tell if labor is real. If you ever are unsure if contractions are true labor, call your doctor.
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