So, as I type this I am sitting here having contractions. I'm due at the end of the month- so it's not THAT likely that they are the real thing. After having several children you'd think I know what the real thing is. The truth is, at least for me, the beginning labor contractions for real labor feel a whole lot like braxton hicks contractions to me.
I've been told a few things about false labor... first, if you drink a couple glasses and lay down on your left side false labor should let up. Second, if you walk, the contractions will get stronger if it is real labor. I can say that with false labor a couple glasses of water and a nap will take care of them for me. The walking part hasn't been as true for me... and since every woman is different it is hard to be sure.
Here is a great chart from WebMD:
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 and stronger.
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 are more intense and may start in the lower back and move to the front of the abdomen
I have found the only reliable way to know whether or not it is true labor is time. You will either continue to have contractions- or they will fade out and stop. It's always good to ask your doctor when s/he would like you to call when you think you are in labor. Generally all doctors say to call if you think you may be in labor before 37 weeks, but after that time your doctor will probably tell you to call when your contractions are 5-7 minutes apart and have been for over an hour.
So, maybe the labor fairy is sitting on my shoulder, but maybe not. For me, only time will truly tell!
When did you know you were in labor?