Real contractions, or false alarm? You’ve probably heard of Braxton Hicks contractions. They are “practice” contractions that can start in mid-pregnancy and continue up until labor. But how do you distinguish them from the real thing?
BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS:
– Come at irregular intervals.
– Last less than 30 seconds (typically).
– Are uncomfortable, but not painful.
– Go away when you change positions or move around.
– Can be a sign that you’re dehydrated. Drink up!
TRUE LABOR CONTRACTIONS:
– Come at fairly regular intervals (i.e. every 5 minutes).
– Last about 30-70 seconds.
– Feel like strong menstrual cramps.
– Start from the top of the uterus and move downward.
– Are often accompanied by lower back discomfort.
– Don’t go away with a change in activity.
Not sure when to head to the hospital?
FOLLOW THE 5-1-1 RULE!
This means you’re having contractions…
Every 5 minutes
Lasting 1 minute each
For 1 hour
This means labor is getting serious!
It’s a good idea to call your doctor and head to the hospital!