Is it True or False Labor?

False Labor Contractions

True Labor Contractions

• Usually irregular and short
• Don’t get stronger or closer together
• Longer intervals between contractions
• Discomfort in lower abdomen and groin
• Lying down may make them go away
• Walking does not make them stronger
• Contractions decrease with sleep.
• Bloody show is usually not present.
• Cervix does not dilate (thin and open)

• Regular contractions, although may be irregular at first
• Get stronger and closer together
• Shorter intervals between contractions;
• Discomfort starts in the back and moves around to the abdomen
• Lying down does not make them go away
• Walking increases contractions
• Contractions continue, even while sleeping.
• Bloody show is usually present.
• Cervix dilates (thins and opens)

Self-monitoring Contractions

Pregnant woman holding stomachSelf-monitoring contractions means feeling your abdomen to see if you are having uterine contractions and then timing the contractions if you do.

Your doctor will tell you when and how often to monitor your contractions. Monitoring contractions includes measuring how long they last, how far apart they are, and how many you have in an hour. Do not trust your memory or guess. If you get upset during the process, you may not be able to remember. Therefore, have pen and paper handy and a clock or watch with a second hand.

Use our Self-Monitoring Contractions worksheet to make monitoring easier.

You may want to read our article “How do I know when I’m in labor?”

You should also learn about induced labor, including the risks, benefits and the reasons for inducing labor. Talk with your doctor to find out how he feels about induced labor. Ask for reasons he thinks it is appropriate to induce labor.

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