Health Tip: False Labor or Real Labor?

-- Many women mistake the irregular contractions of the uterus that constitute "false labor" as the real deal.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers this comparison of real labor versus false labor:

  • Real labor contractions last about 30 seconds to 70 seconds, and get closer together over time. False labor pains are inconsistent, and don't occur more frequently as they continue.
  • Pains and contractions that continue even when you move around or change positions are a sign of real labor. Pains that are relieved by movement, rest, or changing positions are signs of false labor.
  • Labor pains are strong and get increasingly stronger as they continue. False labor pains may become weaker over time or stay the same intensity.
  • While false labor pains are in the front of the belly, real labor pains often start in the lower back and move to the front.

Posted: April 2009


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