Many mothers describe contractions that occur in early labor as similar to menstrual cramps, or as severe gas pains, which may be confused with flu symptoms or intestinal disorders. Imagine your contractions as looking like a wave. Each contraction will gradually gain in intensity until the contraction peaks, then slowly subside and go away. As your body does the work of labor, it is likely that the time in between contractions will become shorter.
|Contraction Characteristics||False Labor||True Labor|
|How often do the contractions occur?||Contractions are often irregular and do not get closer together.||Contractions come at regular intervals and last about 30-70 seconds. As time goes on, they get closer together.|
|Do they change with movement?||Contractions may stop when you walk or rest, or may even stop if you change positions.||Contractions continue despite movement or changing positions.|
|How strong are they?||Contractions are usually weak and do not get much stronger. Or they may be strong at first and then get weaker.||Contractions steadily increase in strength.|
|Where do you feel the pain?||Contractions are usually only felt in the front of the abdomen or pelvic region.||Contractions usually start in the lower back and move to the front of the abdomen.|