Re: What are signs that I’m going into labor? How can I tell the difference between the real thing and a false alarm?
You've been anticipating this moment for the last nine months; no wonder you're worried about missing the early signs of labor. How will you know when it’s time to grab your hospital bag and get to the delivery room? Look for these signs of imminent labor: Blood-tinged discharge, expulsion of the mucus plug, rupturing of the amniotic sac (aka water breaking), and regular contractions (five minutes apart). Many women also experience a certain nesting instinct as labor approaches. If you find yourself with a sudden burst of energy and the need to clean and scrub your house spotless, baby may be on the way!
False labor pains are easy to confuse with the real labor signs but they do have some distinct characteristics. If the contractions are irregular, centered in your lower abdomen or don't worsen over time, it might be a false alarm. Try changing position or walking around -- does the pain recede a little? Probably not the real thing. True contractions are regular, have an obvious increase and decrease during fetal activity, and are centered in your pelvic area. Don't spend too much time analyzing, though -- if you think you're in the early stages of labor, pick up the phone and call your doctor.
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watch: more on the signs of labor
> Think you're in labor now? Time your contractions with our Contraction Counter tool.