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How to Differentiate Between Real and False Labor

It can be difficult for an expectant mother to tell the difference between genuine and false labor, which is also known as “Braxton Hicks” contractions. This is especially true for first-time mothers or those who have not been pregnant for several years.

Here are some symptoms that can help you differentiate between genuine and false labor.


3 Ways to Differentiate Between Real and False Labor

Real and False Labor


1. Time your contractions.

If you have more then 4 per hour or if they come in a pattern (example: a contraction every 10 minutes) and get closer together, you are likely experiencing real labor and should go to a hospital right away.


2. Measure the pain of your contractions on a scale of 1 to 10.

They will also ask you to do this when you arrive at the hospital. If your pain is severe, seek medical attention immediately. Braxton Hicks contractions can be uncomfortable and even slightly painful (like a menstrual period cramp), but should not be extremely painful. During real labor, some women find it hard to walk, talk or even think.


3. Seek a medical evaluation.

This is important if you are convinced that you are experiencing real labor. Real contractions will change your cervix over time, so you should see your doctor or go to a hospital.

Have your contractions monitored to see how far apart they are. Have your cervix checked for dilation and to monitor any changes to your cervix during a one- or two-hour period.


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