How to Recognize False Labor

It is very common for women to think that they are in labor only to find out it's "false labor"—contractions that are irregular and unpredictable, don't progress over time, and slow down or stop.

Contraction:

True Labor

False Labor

Frequency Regular and grow closer together Remain irregular
Length and intensity More than 30 seconds at onset and last progressively longer, up to 60 seconds, and stronger Vary in length and intensity
Relation to your activity Continue regardless of activity, grow stronger with increased activity such as walking Often stop regardless of activity
Where it is felt Begin high in abdomen and radiate throughout entire abdomen and lower back, or vice versa