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Please help, I really need to know! Telling the difference between BH and actual contractions! My hospital wouldn't make it clear, and I'm due tomorrow and scared!

Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but my hospital is basically useless and could not give me a sensible answer!! (switching next time but stuck for now) So, I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I went to the ER on Saturday, as had been instructed by my OB, if I had any more contractions and nausea. Well the contractions were irregular, but WERE registering on the TOCO scale. Does this mean they are REAL and not BH? Are real ones just stronger versios of BH, or something totally different? I thought only real ones registered on the monitor, yet these contractions have totally stopped after that night. I am so confused, and non-typical contractions and labors run in my family. So I am scared I will be well into labor and not know, because I know that happens! I am due tomorrow, and really nervous about this and my doctors and hospital have been no help to me!


Asked by sammybear71 at 2:40 PM on Nov. 9, 2009 in Pregnancy

Level 3 (19 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • it is *normal* to have early labor that comes and goes for days, and it is also normal to have really low intensity contractions and not know you are in labor. not really typical for the low intensity part, most women have very intense contractions and KNOW they are in labor. but it's also normal to not really be able to tell.

    my advice would be to relax and have confidence in your body. what is your fear? that you will birth your baby at home? do some research and prep for that possibility. that way you will feel more confident that if you don't get to the hospital on time everything will be ok. most likely you will labor at home for a good while and then KNOW you are in labor and labor at the hospital for a while.


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:57 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

  • ( I'm the OP - continued) my mother had only menstrual cramps and never had the stomach tightening thing, and my aunt started into labor with only feeling as if she had to go potty. I know not everyone gets the 5 minute apart "normal" contractions, I really need advice on how to tell with something other than how strong or regular they are.

    Answer by sammybear71 at 2:43 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

  • even BH will register as muscle activity

    for all three of mine the initial contractions were like menstrual cramping that kept increasing in severity. it was only after my water was broken that actual PAIN started though.

    but real contractions will be regular. if you sit down or stop moving for a while and they stop....its not the real deal. if you walk and keep moving around and they come stronger and longer...then its the real thing.


    Answer by hypermamaz at 2:56 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

  • oh...and relax! getting anxious and worried and worked up makes it worse (mentally). been there 3 times....

    Answer by hypermamaz at 2:56 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

  • My BH contractions weren't really painful, they just made my belly really tight. I went into labor on my own, and it was all of a sudden. My real contractions were kinda like BH but stronger and it hurt in my pelvic area, and they happened every 4-5 mins. If I wasn't sure, I'd go to the ER just in case. Good luck and congrats!

    Answer by AustinPsalm139 at 3:01 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

  • I think the best thing for you to do is to hire an experienced Doula to help you. She will come to your home and will be able to help. She will help with your fears. If you are afraid you have more tension and pain. Fear can stop labor.

    Not making it to the hospital for a first birth is rare. That's why it makes the news. There are over 4 million babies born a year in the US. How many stories do you hear of moms not making it to the hospital?

    My mom almost didn't make it to the hospital with my sister. My first labor was 20 hours and my second was over 2 days. Your mom and aunt may not have been as well informed as you are. I wouldn't count on a quick labor.

    Active labor usually feels different. Here is something you can read

    If you are bored you might go to the discussion boards at

    Answer by Gailll at 3:04 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

  • It can be real, but not yet "Time." Many women experience a lot of warming up, ramping up to Active Labor.
    For some that can be an hour, for others a few days or even weeks...
    The contractions can start up gradually and stay consistant, or get more intense, or fade away like a break. You'll have to watch and see how it goes.
    Good luck!!

    Answer by doulala at 3:39 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

  • since you think you might have an atypical labor, it might be best to stay at home for as long as possible because some hospitals have unrealistic "clocks" and if your labor isn't progressing as they say it "should" or "must" they might pressure risky interventions on you. in that case, home is safer, imo.

    good luck honey!

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:58 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

  • thanks, everyone. my main issue is that my docs and hospital have just been really unhelpful and never seem to give me a straight answer. that is where most of my fears arise from, because i just want to know what to expect.

    Answer by sammybear71 at 4:33 PM on Nov. 9, 2009

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