As you near the end of your pregnancy, you may start noticing signs and feeling symptoms of false labor. They can set in one month or one day before you actually give birth -- only time will tell. The question is, how will you know when it's real -- and when it's not?
Generally, your health care provider will be able to tell if you are in labor by looking at your cervix to determine if you are effaced and dilated. Often, it can be hard to tell if you are in true labor or having false labor. Here are some tips that may help you to tell true labor from false labor:
The Real Thing (True Labor)
- After timing the contractions, you notice that they are coming consistently and getting closer together.
- Each contraction is lasting 30 to 70 seconds and getting longer.
- The contractions do not go away even if you change your level of activity.
- The feeling of contractions during labor radiate in your lower back and upper abdomen.
- The intensity of the contractions becomes greater as time progresses. They even stop you from continuing a conversation.
False Start (False Labor)
- The contractions continue to be irregular or have a varied pattern. The contractions begin to slow down or are spaced further apart.
- There is no consistent length or intensity of contractions and no pattern develops.
- No clear change or increase in the intensity of the contractions.
- May feel the contraction lower in abdomen without that feeling radiating to the back.
- Changing activities affects the contractions.
These are the most common findings between true and false labor, but every woman is different. You may still not know if you are in true labor. It is always better to call your provider or go to the hospital for guidance.