False Pain & Pregnancy

False Pain & Pregnancy

Before your "true" labour starts, you might have "false" labour pains, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions. These are irregular uterine contractions, and they are normal. False pain is nothing but your body's way of getting ready for the "real labour." During false labour, the contractions come and go with no pattern or constancy, typically in the last 2 to 4 weeks before your due date. They are not "accidental" contractions but a method the body prepares for the delivery by softening and easing your cervix.

Usually, false pain lasts 30 to 60 seconds, on average, but can sometimes continue for a couple of minutes or more. Although some women go through pain, these contractions are more uncomfortable than painful (although some women go through pain) and feel more like period cramps than actual contractions. Furthermore,

• The intensity of false labour contractions varies largely, feeling severe at one moment and slight at the next.

• Such contractions don't appear in any steady pattern.

• They may stop swiftly if you walk or change positions.

• They tend to disappear gradually.

In contrast to false labour pain, the actual delivery pain is rhythmic and intense. Once the pain starts, it continues with increasing frequency and intensity. Moreover, it becomes extremely painful and does not stop if you move or shift positions.

Before the beginning of delivery, there may be some early warning signs to watch out for:

• Breathing and urination have become easier than in the previous months.

• Vaginal discharge or mucus may have a brownish, pink, or reddish colour

• You may have a stomach upset or diarrhoea.

• You may go through a slight increase in blood pressure.

Surprisingly, some women report sudden energy and the yearning to start organizing the home for their newborn. It is known as nesting instinct and occurs as much in humans and animals due to increased estradiol production. Although the nesting instinct can happen during the pregnancy, it is prevalent before the onset of labour.

Ways to relieve false pain

1. Change positions, walk, or get some rest if you have been moving around.

2. Drink enough water or a cup of herbal tea.

3. Take a deep breath and relax.

4. Eat something if you have hunger pangs.

5. Have a warm water shower for up to 30 minutes.

There is nothing to be embarrassed about if you mistake false labour pains for real ones, especially if preterm delivery is possible. While there are means to differentiate false labour from real pain, "better safe than sorry" is always proper. Don't hesitate to contact your doctor during pregnancy if you have questions or concerns.

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