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Labor Signs (cont.)

Preparing for Labor

It is important for you and your health care professional (family doctor, obstetrician, midwife, nurse practitioner, for example) to discuss what you will do when labor begins. You need to know which hospital or birthing center to go to, how long it takes you to get there, and what you will want to have packed and ready to go. Talk about this long before you expect to go into labor.

Determining whether labor is real is not always easy, so you should not feel embarrassed if you go to the hospital and your symptoms turn out to be a false alarm. Contractions in true labor increase in frequency and intensity over time, while in false labor, they do not become stronger or more frequent. Contractions in false labor occur at irregular intervals and may wax and wane in intensity. False labor, in contrast, has the following characteristics.

  • Contractions decrease with walking or movement. In true labor, contractions persist despite movement and/or change of position.
  • May ease with change of position
  • No increase in frequency or intensity of contractions
  • Discomfort located in the front only (true labor pains generally begin in the back and move to the front)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/21/2014
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