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Is This REAL Labor?
It can be very hard to determine "real" or active labor from the on-and-off pattern of false (or early) labor. Hopefully these tips help! When in doubt, call your doula.
Signs that it's early labor (or false labor):
Contractions feel like back ache or menstrual cramps
Contractions are sporadic in length, often longer or shorter than one minute
You can still walk, talk, or sleep through your contractions
Contractions are sporadic in pattern - the spacing between contractions isn't consistent
Contractions are more than five minutes apart
Increased vaginal discharge, or loss of mucous plug
If you are at least 37 weeks, these are the signs that it's "real" labor:
You can easily tell when each contraction starts and stops
You cannot walk or talk through your contractions
Each contraction lasts 55-65 seconds
Contractions are every five minutes (can wait until every 3-4 minutes to go to hospital)
Bloody show - actual spotting of red blood
When to call your doula:
Any time you need support, education, or clarification
When to go to the hospital:
When ALL of the above signs of labor are happening, and contractions are 3-4 minutes apart
The Birth Zone 2023
Nothing on this site is meant to replace medical advice. Please contact your physician or midwife with any medical questions.