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How do I tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and real labor?

I am 36 weeks and I keep having contractions but I cant tell the difference because the BH still hurt like hell! How do I tell the difference besides wait till they get stronger.


Asked by Alysia_Moore at 2:18 AM on Oct. 21, 2009 in Pregnancy

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Answers (8)
  • In addition to what others are saying, BH don't get progressively worse. They will be erratic. They won't be evenly spaced between. One will be hard, the next not so much, then the next maybe even harder again. They won't last the same length of time. Like with my second child I was timing them and they were anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes apart and would last anywhere from 20 seconds to a minute long. Those aren't labor contractions. Labor contractions are regular and get progressively worse.

    Answer by proud2Bmomma at 8:56 AM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • I think this info is helpful:

    Think labor has started??


    Answer by doulala at 2:23 AM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • Often, BH contractions will slow down or stop if you change positions. Or if you drink an excessive amount of water (like 20 oz.). If it's prodromal labor rather than BH, about the only thing that helps is a glass of red wine. I had prodromal for 5 weeks, though, and I never got that desperate. But i was still managing to sleep. Some women can't, and have used the wine to slow down their contractions so they can fall asleep.

    Answer by tyrelsmom at 3:44 AM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • Usually BH contraction start more so towards the top of your stomach or the middle. Labor contractions are more towards the bottom. Im 31 weeks and have had maybe 2 BH contraction and they were not painful just pretty uncomfortable. It felt like my stomach was being sqeezed. I asked my doctor about it and she said i had to drink more water like 4 of those big smart water bottles. Sure enough they stopped. You on the other not sure if dyhdration is whats causing your because they are painful you say and your more term than me. Not to mention some women have their babies around 36 weeks. If they feel like really bad period cramps and i mean ones to where you just cant take it. I would go in and have them take a look. If you get sent home so what because you know you will have that baby in a few weeks anyways. GL hun and try drinking lots of water and rest as much as you can.

    Answer by Proudparent707 at 7:03 AM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • Real contractions won't stop if you drink water or change positions and rest. They will be evenly spaced out and over time will get longer, stronger, and closer together.

    Answer by beckcorc at 7:37 AM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • The doctor said you will know. The pain doesn't feel the same. BH feels like very powerful period cramps and the real deal tightens your stomach makes you feel queezy(sometimes) and the pain feels deeper... You feel pain with a lot of pressure

    Answer by christinkie at 8:11 AM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • I had bad BH, so bad that I was in labor for more than 12 hours before I realized what it was. My dr says instead of timing the contractions, because labor contractions aren't always regular, to see if you have 10 or more in an hour. If you have 10 in an hour go to labor and delivery. Women have all kinds of different BH and labor pains. It's really impossible to tell someone a sure fire way to tell the difference. That's why my dr says, have 10 in an hour, go to L&D.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 9:23 AM on Oct. 21, 2009

  • For the most part, you'll know. When the real contractions come like everyone else said, NOTHING will stop them. Drinking water, warm baths, changing positions, walking, etc. does NOTHING. Also with regular contractions (for me anyhow) they came in waves and the waves were in a consistant pattern. I could feel them coming, and they would increase and reach their peak, only to slowly..and I emphasize, lol, SLLLLLOOOWWWLLLYY fade away. My BH came randomly, and they didn't have a consistant wave feeling. HTH.

    Answer by LoveMyLondon at 9:46 AM on Oct. 21, 2009