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True Vs. False Labor

Elizabeth Keefe


Signs of Pre-Labor

You may experience certain changes that indicate the onset of labor is near. These may be:

  • Increased frequency of Braxton-Hicks Contractions.
  • Lightening - Relaxation of uterine ligaments allowing baby to settle deeper into pelvis.
  • Occurs two weeks prior to labor with first pregnancy.
  • Occurs just prior to or during labor in subsequent birth.
  • Increased vaginal secretions.
  • Discharge of mucous plug.
  • 1-2 pound weight loss.
  • Diarrhea.
  • "Nesting" syndrome - You begin preparing for the arrival of your new baby. i.e.. Sudden urge to hurry up and clean the house.

Signs of Labor:

Bloody show may be seen at beginning of labor ( a pinkish vaginal secretion of blood and mucus)Ruptured membranes - a sudden gush or slow leaking of fluid from vagina -Contractions (described below)

*Do not use tampons or take tub baths with ruptured membranes. Use sanitary napkins if needed.

True Labor Contractions:

  • Become regular as labor progresses
  • Get stronger over time
  • Walking makes them stronger
  • Resting does not make them go away
  • Felt in back and radiate to the front
  • Cervix effaces and dilates
  • Last longer as labor progresses (duration)
  • Shorter rest periods between (frequency)come every 20-30 minutes or start closer together.

False Labor Contractions:

  • Are usually irregular and short
  • Do not get close together
  • Walking does not affect the contraction
  • Resting may help stop them
  • Usually felt in the front and groin area
  • Cervix does not change significantly

Note: It is always a good idea to call your health care provider when in doubt!

Related Articles

False Labor & The Need To Urinate

Preterm Labor & How To Avoid Preterm Labor

Hypnobirthing, A New Way To Labor

Signs of Labor

Preterm Labor


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