We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
In the final weeks of your pregnancy, every ache can feel like the beginning of the big event.
Keep calm and learn how to monitor your contractions so you can tell if you're really in labor.
How to time contractions
How can you tell if you're truly in labor? Once you start having contractions, time a few of them, counting from the start of one contraction to the start of the next.
You'll know you're in true labor when your contractions:
- Start to last longer
- Get stronger
- Happen at regular intervals
- Start coming more frequently
- Persist whether you change positions, walk, or lie down
If you've checked all of these boxes, you're probably in labor!
But most healthcare providers prefer that you delay going to the hospital or birthing center until you're in active labor, which can take several more hours. So ask your provider ahead of time how to determine when you should head out.
Some healthcare providers suggest using a formula like the 4-1-2 rule, meaning it's time to go when:
4 – Contractions are 4 minutes apart
1 – They each last about 1 minute
2 – This pattern has been going on for at least 2 hours
If you can no longer hold a conversation or relax completely between contractions, it's definitely time to go.
However, call your provider right away if:
- You're not yet 37 weeks and you think you are in labor
- Your water has broken
- You are bleeding (more than spotting)
- Your baby seems to be moving less than normal
- You are in constant, severe pain without any relief between contractions
Breathe in … breathe out … good luck!