What is false labor?

Before you actually go into true labor, you may experience false labor, otherwise called Braxton Hicks contractions or practice labor. False labor is your body’s way of preparing itself for giving birth, and it usually occurs during the third trimester, although some women experience it during their second trimester. Even if you get Braxton Hicks contractions early on (during your second trimester), they are absolutely normal and not a cause for a concern. But, how can you tell if your contractions are false or if you are actually going into labor? Our certified midwife in Sarasota has come up with this guide to help.

Signs you are going into real labor:

  • Contractions – During real labor, your contractions will start at regular intervals, and they are likely to last anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds. Over time, your contractions will get closer together and become stronger. You will also feel more discomfort as time goes on, and your contractions will not go away with walking. One of the best ways to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions is to time them.
  • Bloody Show – Before you go into true labor, you will pass the mucus plug, which blocks the cervix. Keep in mind that this may happen days before you go into actual labor, but it still means that labor is close, if not imminent.
  • Water Breaking – In most cases, the bag of water (amniotic sac) that surrounds and protects your baby will break before or at the beginning of true labor. Some women experience a large gush of liquid and others only experience a small trickle. If your water breaks more than 3 weeks before your baby is due, contact your midwife or doctor right away.
  • Lower back pain – Lower back pain is almost always present during real labor, especially if it feels like menstrual cramps.
  • Effacement – During real labor, your cervix will become softer, thinner and dilated over time.

Learn the signs of false labor when you stay tuned for our next blog.