Telling the Difference between Braxton Hicks Contractions and Labor Contractions


It can be difficult for a first-time mom to know what real labor pains feels like, especially since false labor can have a lot of similar signs. It is important to discuss what to look for with a trained doctor, midwife, or nurse practitioner and always call if you are unsure if that is what you're going through. Here are some tips for how to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and real labor.


Braxton Hicks contractions are rarely painful, and many women, especially if they have had babies before, will experience them for months before they actually give birth. These contractions are just your uterus tightening and practicing for birth. As your baby grows, there are adjustments that your body goes through, and Braxton Hicks is one of the ways that your body adjusts to the little human inside of you. If you are having real contractions, you will definitely feel pain especially as they get closer together.


Another thing about real labor contractions is that they will become regularly spaced. Braxton Hicks can tighten your belly for several minutes at a time and then might relax and retighten at varying intervals. If you are having painful, regular contractions spaced 10 minutes apart for over an hour, you are definitely in labor and should call your doctor right away.

Doesn't Stop

Braxton Hicks contractions will almost always stop by an hour or so if you drink a glass of water, lay on your left side, and relax for at least an hour. If you are in real labor, it doesn't matter what you do, most of the time you won't be able to stop it if you are far enough along.

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