Video:How to Understand Labor Painswith Kathy Moore
It's important to understand labor pains during the last trimester of pregnancy. Here are some descriptions of false labor pains and real ones, to help you better understand labor pains.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Understand Labor PainsHi, I am Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. During the last trimester of pregnancy, nearly all women experience signs of labor. But how do you know when it's false labor or true labor? This program will offer a few examples of what to look for in false and real labor to help you judge when to call your doctor or head to the hospital.
False Labor Pains: Braxton-HicksFalse labor pains are called Braxton-Hicks. These contractions are your body's way of softening and thinning your cervix in preparation for delivery. Some Braxton-Hicks contractions feel like a very slight tightness in the belly; others, usually at the end of the pregnancy, are sharper pains. These contractions are most likely to be noticeable in the afternoon or evening or when you are tired.
The easiest rule for determining false labor from true labor is that true labor contractions get longer, stronger and closer together. False labor contractions do not.
Time Contractions to Understand Labor PainsWhen you have a contraction, the first thing to do is note the time. Time the distance between the start of one contraction, the end of that contraction and the start of the next contraction.
When you are experiencing contractions, change your movement. If you are standing, sit or lie down on your left side. If you are sitting, try walking around. True contractions will keep coming no matter what you do; false labor will usually stop when you change positions. Even drinking water can sometimes stop false labor.
Note where you feel the contractions. Braxton-Hicks are usually only felt in the front of the belly. True labor starts in the back and moves to the front.
Also note the strength of the contraction. False labor is a mix of strong and weak contractions where as true labor involves contractions that steadily get stronger.
But pain does not always mean true labor. It needs to be considered in conjunction with the timing and position of the contractions, too.
When to Go to the HospitalIf at any time you are experiencing contraction or other pain with no relief, get chills or a fever, notice that the baby seems to be moving less, have any vaginal bleeding or your water breaks, call the doctor or hospital. This is also true if you think you are experiencing labor before 37 weeks.
Do not feel silly if you go to the hospital only to be sent home. It is always better to be safe, than sorry. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at Parenting.About.com.
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