Labor pains are a necessary ritual every pregnant woman passes through before they eventually give birth to their bundle of joy. There have been instances of pregnant women who wrongly believed that their time to deliver their baby is up only to realize that the signs that made them have their belief are false.
In medical parlance, such a condition is called false labor. It happens to most women. The objective of this exercise is to distinguish false labor and real and actual labor. How can a pregnant woman distinguish between real and false labor.
What does false labor feel like?
False labor is referred to in medical parlance as Braxton Hicks contractions. It is an irregular uterine contraction and they are perfectly normal. A pregnant woman may begin to experience it from the 4th month of pregnancy. They are signals that your body gives in readiness for the real action.
Now to the question: What does Braxton Hicks contractions feel like? This is contractions in the abdominal region of the pregnant woman that comes and goes. Take note of this; the contractions do not come closer to each other; they do not increase in frequency of occurrence, neither do they increase as long they last.
What does real labor feel like?
There is no generalization here because labor pains differ from one pregnant woman to the other. The way A feels is different from how B feels. Generally, they cause discomfort or put differently, a dull ache in your lower abdomen and your back. This is also accompanied by a pressure in the pelvis. Some women also feel pains in their thighs and sides.
Pregnant women have different feelings about these contractions; some see it as menstrual cramps while others view it in the light of strong waves that bring in its toll a feeling of diarrhea cramps.
Now, let us separate the feelings a pregnant woman is expected to have during real labor or false labor as a way to separate the original from the fake. Here we go:
If you have the following feelings, then be rest assured that your feelings of labor are real:
- The pregnant woman’s cervix becomes thinner in a progressive manner; it also becomes softer and becomes dilated.
- Are you having persistent lower back pain? Is it accompanied with a crampy, premenstrual feeling? Your labor in that wise is real.
- If the appearance of a bloody show occurs, then consider that your time is up. When the mucus plug is passed with the blocking of the cervix, real labor could be imminent.
- When your bag of waters is broken accompanied contractions, this is a signal that you are due.
- When the contractions are stronger; lasts longer and occurs at regular intervals- say every five to seven minutes apart; the labor is real. How do you take the timing?
- Use a watch that displays seconds to observe the time.
- Determine the interval between the contractions.
- If the timing agrees with what we have discussed as regards real labor, then you are advised to call your physician immediately because your time is actually due.
Now let us consider the false feelings of labor. They appear very similar to the original; but then, a line of difference exists if you are careful to make the observations that will be pointed out here. As the due date gets nearer, you are likely to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. When you observe the following, then the labor is false:
- If a progressive dilation of the cervix does not occur, it is a very strong signal that the labor pangs are mere dress rehearsals for the original.
- The pains are there quite right, don’t be fooled, check for the bloody show; if the pains are not accompanied by the bloody show, then relax because your time has not actually come for delivery.
- When the contractions you are having begins from your lower abdomen, then it can be predicted accurately that your time is not yet due. Actual labor pains will not begin from your abdominal region; it begins from your back region and moves to the abdominal region.
- Yet another way through which a woman can determine if her labor is false is to look in the direction of the membrane. If a pregnant woman’s membrane is still very intact, then no matter the feelings, it is far from real labor.
- Watch out also for the contraction of the Uterine. It may be painful or it may not be painful; that is not a good yardstick for a pregnant woman to follow. Time the contractions. If they are not persistent, then it false labor. If it is not more intense and it is not closer together, you are having false labor
It should be stated here that not all pregnant women pass through the ritual of false labor. For some women, they move direct to the original. If you are not sure and is in doubt despite the analysis given above, then it is advised that you call in the obstetrician or midwife.
Alternatively, it is advised that you take a warm shower and be sure to have enough rest. Stress is a common factor in pregnant women which bring about false labor. In addition, make sure you drink plenty of fluids.
If you are in doubt and still could not make a clear cut decision between the real and false labor, then it is advised that you make use of the services of your health care provider. They are there at all times to clear all doubts. Do not entertain any form of fear; be open to them, confide in them; l bet you they have all the answers that will go all the way to clear your mind of all your doubts. They are your last resort for help and useful advice.
There is indeed a difference between real and false labor.