Braxton Hicks Contractions (cont.)
In this Article
- What are Braxton Hicks contractions?
- What do Braxton Hicks contractions feel like?
- What do true labor contractions feel like?
- What are symptoms of false labor?
- I sometimes have pain on the side of my stomach. Is this true labor?
- I hate to bother my health care provider with "false alarms." When should I call?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
How do I know when contractions indicate I am in true labor?
To figure out if the contractions you are feeling are the real thing and you're going into labor, ask yourself the following questions.
How often do the contractions happen?
- False Labor: Contractions are often irregular and do not get closer together.
- True Labor: Contractions come at regular intervals and last about 30-70 seconds. As time goes on, they get closer together and stronger.
Do they change with movement?
- False Labor: Contractions may stop when you walk or rest, or may even stop if you change positions.
- True Labor: Contractions continue despite movement or changing positions.
How strong are they?
- False Labor: Contractions are usually weak and do not get much stronger. Or they may be strong at first and then get weaker.
- True Labor: Contractions steadily increase in strength.
Where do you feel the pain?
- False Labor: Contractions are usually only felt in the front of the abdomen or pelvis.
- True Labor: Contractions are more intense and may start in the lower back and move to the front of the abdomen.
If you have signs of true labor, contact your health care provider immediately. If you're not sure, call your health care provider anyway. If you are having any of the following, you may be in true labor.
- Contractions every 10 minutes or more than five contractions in an hour.
- Regular tightening or pain in your back or lower abdomen.
- Pressure in the pelvis or vagina.
- Menstrual-like cramps.
- Fluid leak.
- Flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you are having Braxton Hicks contractions, you really don't need to do anything unless they are making you uncomfortable. If they are, try the following:
- Take a walk. False labor contractions often stop when you change position or get up and walk.
- Get some sleep or rest.
- Drink water.
- Eat a snack or small meal.
- Get a massage.
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