Giving birth is unique and rewarding experience for every mom. No two pregnancies nor labor and delivery are exactly alike. Despite most women finding their pregnancy and giving birth to be easier than what they had expected, it is the few stories from the women that experience more discomfort and very long labor that we remember. Although it is impossible to predict how difficult or easy your labor and giving birth will be, preparing yourself will give you the tools to cope.
“How will I know when I am really in labor and ready to give birth?” This is the number one question asked of health care providers. To answer this question first you have to know the difference between true labor and false labor. True labor contractions occur at regular intervals with increasing intensity or severity. False labor contractions occur at irregular intervals and the intensity level of each contraction varies.
Note when timing your contractions you want to pay attention not only to the frequency of contractions, but how long each contraction lasts.
To help you decide if your contractions represent true or false labor record the interval between the contractions, if the interval is shortening you may actually be in true labor. If at rest the interval is lengthening or irregular in length you may be in false labor. The only way to tell for sure if you’re in active labor is to have a healthcare provider examine your cervix and see if your cervix is dilating.
Women’s Healthcare Topic’s “Giving Birth” posts are currently being researched and written by James W. Brann, MD. Come back frequently to see additional posts that are going live.