False labor can be really irritating, you may think 'this is it!' And then to put it bluntly - it isn't!
If you have suffered from Braxton Hicks contractions through your pregnancy, you may find they get more intense and even painful.
False (practise) labor can be just like real labor, apart from it never gets to the birth stage. It can come and go with no warning. It can disrupt your sleep, and make you feel tired and moody.
With false contractions they won't get closer together like normal contractions do. They may be irregular, and they may vary in the length and the intensity.
Contractions won't progress like in true labor, your cervix won't dilate, so there's no way that you will be giving birth with these sort of contractions. Saying that, when true labor starts that may well be a little irregular too, but it will start to progress.
You may feel some pain and be very uncomfortable, but it will more than likely be in your lower abdomen. When you go into true labor, that pain is likely to start in your back and go around to your belly or vice versa.
If your labor is false, the contractions may go away just by you changing your position.
If you're still under 37 weeks pregnant and you feel pain like contractions, you should see your midwife or doctor straight away. If you're over 37 weeks, then wait and see if they start to get closer together. Time them just to be sure. True labor contractions will always progress into a regular pattern.
When I reached 38 weeks with my second child, Lauren, I had false labor pains, otherwise known as Braxton Hicks contractions - See more about Braxton Hicks here, every night for a week! They would normally start around 1am, and would be niggly little pains in my lower belly. Moving around would cause them to become very irregular, and lying in certain positions would even stop them for a while. By 6am this would all stop!
For 5 whole nights I slept on the downstairs sofa, thinking that tonight would be 'the night'! It wasn't until the Friday night, when they just kept getting stronger, and weren't as irregular as before, that I really thought this might be it. After a warm bath at 7 in the morning, and still no signs of them stopping, I knew that this was the real thing! Lauren came into the world that Saturday afternoon!
If you're not sure whether you have having false or true labor, then speak to your midwife. She is used to this sort of thing and can help to put your mind at rest.
Return from false labor to the childbirth page.
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