False Labor vs True Labor (When Will I Go Into Labor?)

Education & Training with Three Kids, Three Cats, and a Husband



This post is for pregnant women who are going to have a baby. There are things discussed in this post meant for WOMEN or very supportive partners! 


Having a baby is so intense and leading up to the big day can be exciting, overwhelming and, well, a bit confusing.


I’ve had 3 babies, and each labor was extremely different. With my first, my water broke but very inconspicuously and eventually I was induced.


My son sent me to the hospital for a false alarm a week before he arrived and my third baby came fast and furiously in less than 4 hours from the first contraction to birth!


I tell you this simply to show that not only is every woman different, every pregnancy is different.


How To Tell False Labor From True Labor:

Braxton Hicks


Braxton Hicks contractions are characterized by a tightening of the abdomen but it comes and goes and they don’t get longer or stronger in intensity.


When Do Braxton Hicks Occur?


Braxton Hicks contractions can start happening as early as the second trimester. Some causes are:


  • Being very active

  • Dehydration

  • After sex

  • When your bladder is full


How To Help Alleviate Braxton Hicks


  • Change positions- if you’ve been sitting for a while, get up and stretch and walk around a bit. If you’ve been active, take a moment to sit down and rest.

  • Take a warm bath for up to 30 minutes.

  • Drink a couple of glasses of water.

  • Drink some warm herbal tea.


True Contractions


True labor contractions come at regular intervals and get closer together as time goes on and usually last 30-70 seconds.


Changing your position won’t stop a true contraction. 


True labor contractions cause a dull ache in your lower back and abdomen. There is also pressure in the pelvis. Some women will feel pain in their sides or thighs as well.


How To Deal True Labor Contractions


  • Find a comfortable position.

  • Take a deep breath and a big sigh out- don’t be afraid to make noise.

  • Try to relax your body in between contractions to conserve energy.

  • Ask your support person to massage your lower back.


How To Tell If You’re Going Into Labor Soon


  • You lose your mucus plug- a mucus plug is something your body generates at conception to protect your baby from harmful bacteria. If you lose yours, it means your baby is on the way! 

  • Weight loss- you may lose 1-3lbs in water weight shortly before you go into labor.

  • Increased vaginal discharge- you may notice more of it or it changing color or consistency.

  • Back pain- a low back ache is a sign that labor may be starting soon!

  • Your water breaks- this is a SURE sign you’re going into labor.


My water broke with 2 out of 3 babies but I was shocked to learn that only 15% of women have their water break BEFORE labor begins.


With my 3rd, my water broke while I was at the hospital and well into my labor. 


If you’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of your baby, you might want to check out this post- Signs That Labor Is 24-48 Hours Away.


I’m sending you so much luck and love on your child birth journey❤