Hopefully, you weren't relying on the fact that on TV and in the movies... 1) women always suddenly realize they're in...
Hopefully, you weren't relying on the fact that on TV and in the movies...
1) women always suddenly realize they're in labor, 2) everyone around them instantly jumps into action, 3) they deliver the baby a few hours later.
    If only it were so simple! Many women are very unsure as to what they're feeling is true labor -- that is, real enough to call your doctor or midwife about. (This is true even of women who have given birth before!) Your body does a lot during the last weeks of pregnancy -- most notably, producing varying levels of Braxton-Hicks contractions -- so it can be hard to discern where "false" labor ends and actual labor begins. One good test: Change your position and what you're doing. True labor will just keep on chugging along (or getting stronger), even if you change your position, walk around, etc. Also, in when you're really in labor, the contractions will typically become more regular and closer together. For the bad news: In our experience, active labor actually hurts -- it's not sharp and interestingly unusual like the BH contractions. (Think how a bump on your arm is sharp, but you can pretty much keep on doing what you were doing... while nausea or body aches are so completely blah, they make it nearly impossible to stick to your typical routine.) When in doubt -- this is usually after a couple hours of wondering, waiting and mind games -- go ahead and call your caregiver or your hospital's labor and delivery unit for advice. Really remember that you can call anytime if you have concerns. But are you sure you want to call in the cavalry just yet? Well, any of your good friends who have been through birth before can be reassuring and encouraging. (That said, you might need to specifically request that they spare you the horror stories. Hopefully they already know this.) Want a little more food for thought? Get the scoop on what some moms said true labor contractions felt like here!

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