For the 3rd time today, you’ve dialled your doctor only to realize the contractions were nothing but a false alarm. Most pregnant mothers experience what are called the notorious ‘Braxton Hicks’ contractions during their 30th week of pregnancy. Although they cause you discomfort, these contractions are your body’s way of warming up for the main event. Not all women experience false contractions during pregnancy; some undergo true labour pain directly on their big day with nothing to prepare them for it.
But how do you tell the difference between false and true labour when you’re 30 weeks pregnant and panicking in between the pain?
Read the signs below to know for sure so you don’t cry wolf the next time those Braxton Hicks kick in. Besides, you’ll be keeping your healthcare provider from having to make another late-night excursion.
Contractions start in your lower abdomen
The pain that comes with false labour is mostly centred in your lower abdomen. With true labour, the pain begins in your lower back and radiates to your abdomen or vice versa.
They don’t happen at regular intervals
Braxton Hicks contractions are sporadic and unpredictable. They occur at intervals that are irregular. True labour contractions are initially irregular but go on to become regular as time passes.
They don’t get stronger
If it’s false labour, you will know it as the contractions subside with a change in position or activity. With true labour, the intensity of the contractions increases with time irrespective of what you do to try and ease them.
They don’t last longer
False contractions vary in length, unlike true labour that lasts for over 30 seconds, getting progressively longer.
They don’t cause dilation of the cervix
If it’s false labour, your cervix will not dilate. When it’s true labour, however, your cervix will get softer, thinner, and will dilate.
You may experience false labour as early as the second trimester and during the third trimester. Something as simple as a walk in the park or a change in position can make them go away. Just know that it is not a phenomenon unheard of and everything is normal for you and your little sweetheart.
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