During my last pregnancy, I started contracting a lot earlier than I did with my others. Around four months it seemed that labor would start, I would time my contractions for a period of time. Ten minutes apart, then seven minutes apart, two minutes apart and then.....nothing. The rollercoaster ride was draining but this is a completely normal part of some pregnancies.
So what's happening?
It's called false labor, Braxton Hicks, or if you want to get technical, Prodromal labor. Your uterus is contracting irregularly and getting ready for the real thing. False labor doesn't have any rhyme or reason. You can have contractions that are every ten minutes, then every five minutes, then go down to two minutes and then back up to ten minutes only to completely stop. The contractions can last up to about 30 seconds. With false labor there is no progression. It doesn't kick things into gear. Another thing to note is that you will feel the discomfort or cramping mainly in one area, the abdominal area. Actual labor can be felt in your back, abdomen, and even in your thighs. With that being said, what can you do to help you better handle false labor?
Drink lots of water!
Being dehydrated can cause false labor. It's important to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water to make sure your uterus doesn't start getting antsy. Drinking your water can stop those contractions in their tracks. Being in the hospital due to dehydration during pregnancy isn't fun. I've been down that road. So hydrate! They even have cute little water bottles that motivate you to drink! Like this one found on Amazon! So drink up!
Changing positions usually helps to stop false labor. You can get up and take a walk. You can take a nice warm shower, or if you've been active, sit down for a bit and relax. Standing in the shower worked really great for me! I would let the water run on my belly for about 15 minutes. When I would get out, I would put my feet up, and relax. The contractions would start to go become less and less when I was standing in the shower and by the time I made it to sit down they were practically gone.
Don't think about it!
Ignore it. Okay wait, I know you're thinking, how can I ignore it especially if you think you may be going into labor? Now if you truly feel that labor is near then by all means DON'T ignore it. Trust your gut and follow up with your provider. But, if it's false labor, worrying about it can only make you tired. Relax and switch your focus to the things that bring you joy and peace. You have so much to prepare for already, don't tire yourself out. Your body is doing what it needs to do to get ready for the big day!
Have any of you experienced false labor? What did you do to get through it? Please share your stories!
Until next time, I'm sending you all peace, love, and light!
Certified Health Coach (Pregnancy and Postpartum Support)