Signs and Symptoms of True Labor Contractions

As an expectant mother, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of true labor contractions. These contractions are different from Braxton Hicks contractions, which are sporadic and irregular, and are often called “false labor.” True labor contractions indicate that your baby is ready to be born and can happen anytime between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:

1. Regular contractions: True labor contractions are regular and get closer together as time passes. You will feel a tightening sensation in your uterus that lasts for 30-70 seconds. The contractions will become more frequent, longer, and stronger.

2. Lower back pain: As the contractions intensify, you may feel pain in your lower back that radiates to your abdomen. This is a sign that your baby is moving down into the birth canal.

3. Increased vaginal discharge: You may notice that your vaginal discharge increases as your cervix dilates and prepares for birth. It’s perfectly normal to have a blood-tinged mucus discharge called “bloody show.”

4. Water breaks: As your baby moves down into the birth canal, pressure on the amniotic sac may cause it to rupture, which is commonly known as your “water breaking.” If this happens, call your healthcare provider immediately.

5. Contractions don’t stop: Unlike Braxton Hicks contractions, true labor contractions won’t stop even if you change positions, drink water or take a warm bath. They will continue to increase in intensity and frequency until you deliver your baby.

If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider immediately. They will advise you on whether to come to the hospital or wait until your contractions become stronger and closer together. Remember, every pregnancy is different, so trust your instincts and seek medical attention if you have any concerns about your labor and delivery.