When the time for going into labor begins during the third trimester, women start having contractions. However, these contractions can get confused with Braxton Hicks contractions which are indicative of false labor. Women usually go through false labor before experiencing real labor pain and contractions. These contractions make women get ready for the real contractions and labor.
False labor occurs during the third trimester before true labor. Braxton Hicks contractions are less painful, irregular, have a shorter duration, and are felt in the abdominal area only. These contractions are not strong and eventually disappear. Some causes for these contractions include dehydration, fetal movement, activity such as sex, and feeling nauseous.
The difference between false and true labor
There are several ways to tell whether a woman is experiencing a Braxton Hicks contraction or a real contraction. False labor gives irregular, spaced out contractions while true labor gives regular, stronger, and closer contractions. False labor contractions are not as strong as true labor contractions. These false contractions disappear during rest or walking, but with true labor, the contractions continue even after changing positions. True labor pain occurs in the abdomen and the lower back, while Braxton Hicks contractions tend to affect the abdomen only.
How to manage false contractions?
Braxton Hicks contractions usually disappear with time. However, if the contractions persist and make one feel uncomfortable, some things can be tried. Some tips to consider include drinking water, taking a rest, walking, and massage.
How do I know I am going into true labor?
During the last trimester, observing the type of contractions is important to differentiate from false labor. When paying attention to the contraction, observe the frequency, intensity, and duration of the contraction. As time goes by, the contractions will be stronger and longer, and keeping track of the contractions will help. The other signs to watch out for before going into labor include back pain and diarrhea.
Other important signs of labor
There are a few other signs that indicate one is going into labor. Lightening process occurs, which is when the baby moves into the lower pelvis. During the lightening process, there will be more pressure in the lower pelvis and frequent urination. Losing the mucus plug is another sign that labor will begin soon. When the water breaks, a gush of fluid will occur. This is a definite sign of going into labor.
The stages of labor
When a woman goes into labor, the labor occurs in various stages. Labor is divided into 3 stages and the duration of each stage varies. The stages of labor include early and active labor, the delivery of the baby, and the delivery of the placenta.
When to call the doctor
If there are any doubts about false labor and true labor, consult the healthcare provider. There are other important situations to know when to call the doctor. Call the healthcare provider if there is a gush of fluid, any bleeding or spotting, or if the woman is experiencing true labor contractions.