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i keep hearing it, but it is true?? - "you just KNOW when you are in labor"

i keep hearing that you will just "know" when you go into true labor but i dont really believe it cause everyone is different and even my pregnancy book says that it's rarely like in the movies and many women have false alarms. i get the "you will just know" answer to a lot of my questions and i'm kinda getting annoyed. ive heard that back labor can be totally in your back and never even go to your front like normal labor so some women don't even realize it's labor. therefore, you can't just "know" unless you happen to be a text book case, right? my mom said she wasn't even really in pain till active labor, just has menstraul cramps till then, so that would be easy to overlook. are people just thinking of ACTIVE labor or what? cause usually what i'm asking about is early labor, and that's different

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:46 AM on Oct. 16, 2009 in Pregnancy

Answers (14)
  • You do know because labor is abdominal pain a specific feel and sometimes in the back too. But labor when baby is being born is different than the practice labor of earlier braxton hicks pain.

    Labor when baby is coming 'today or tomorrow or this weekend' does not at all stop. It is nonstop literally and it lasts a little bit and baby is born vaginally or csection or the labor of baby coming now or soon. Baby birthing labor has different time periods between contractions but nothing stops the pain except when baby is born.

    You will know. Some women don't know they are pregnant until literally they are in labor to birth. But they know something something huge emotionally and physically is happening because there is no let up of it.

    Have someone with you who will help you make clear your labor and birth wishes and plans. You are allowed choices.

    Answer by lfl at 9:53 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • i think you're right. its probably geared toward more active labor. cuz early for me was like cramps as well. ( i was dilated to a 4 and didnt even know it) But i had back labor, and o boy do you know it! Once i started telling mom i was uncomfortable she told me to time my uncomfy feelings. turns out they were happening every 6 minutes lol then one hit my face changed mom laughed and said, now you believe you're in labor? lol and from that point it was progression.

    Answer by AmandaN1 at 9:54 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • I think people generally mean active labor. That is generally hard to mistake for anything else.

    Answer by Southernroots at 9:59 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • With a first baby you don't need to go to the hospital until you are in active labor. Active labor with last for hours.

    Answer by Gailll at 10:00 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • 3 kids and 3 labour situations that were all different - I KNEW that I was in real labour when it finally started.

    but, I had weeks of "is THIS it?" no...."is THIS it...?" for all three. it was strange I figured I'd know because I'd done it before when it wasn't real.


    Answer by hypermamaz at 10:03 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • It's true, you will know. The pain is a lot more intense than Braxton Hicks contractions, and they are regular. It can begin as just uncomfortable cramps, but when the contractions strengthen, there's no denying what it is. With my son, I had my very first contraction about 230pm, and it was so bad I doubled over and slid to the ground in pain. I continued to contract every 10 minutes, so we headed to the hospital. With my daughter, it started out about 11pm with really uncomfortable cramps and back pain, but by 4am, I was contracting regularly, so we headed in. The contractions got main severe until it was time to push. She was born at 202pm. Each labor and pregnancy is different, but one thing that doesn't change is how much pain you will be in when you are in labor. It may start off as "uncomfortable", but trust me, you will know, because it will get more painful.

    Answer by laird6372 at 10:03 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • If you are anywhere near your due date and start having cramps or low back pain, you have to start to pay attention to frequency. Not all first babies take a long time to deliver....mine was 5 1/2 hours from start to finish. Just start to be aware of changes in your body near the due date and there will be no mistaking when you are in labor.

    Answer by khedy at 10:11 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • With my 1st I had preterm labor, and I did not know that's what it was until I went to see the doctor - I knew I felt like crap, but I had no idea I was having contractions. I ended up on bedrest for a while. Later when I went into real labor I knew it, but I still got sent home from the hospital the first time I showed up and didn't want to go back to be sent home again. When I lost the plug the next day I finally gave in and went back - my baby was born within 30 minutes of me arriving, so I almost waited too long.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:23 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • No, it is hard to tell sometimes.
    And in the earliest labor through most of it, some moms might not know what to do, IF this is It.
    It can be hard to tell!

    It seems like when a mom might really get it sometimes, is later on. Which is great!

    (Part of a doula's job is helping a mom know/figure out when to go.)

    Answer by doulala at 10:38 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

  • With both my babies i did instinctively know it was the real thing even though my first was back labor from start to finish and with my second the contractions never were very painful, close together or very long. I don't go by assumptions of how labor should be and i think that when women tell you that you will know that they often mean by instinct. Unfortunately most women do not trust their instincts enough to rely on them.
    If i had gone by symptoms i would have given birth both times before knowing it was the real thing on a rational level.

    Answer by Cynthje at 11:05 AM on Oct. 16, 2009

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