It can be hard to know when those contractions are the real thing. Here are some tips to help you figure out whether you are actually in labor or whether you're experiencing false labor symptoms.
You will definitely know when you go into labor. Labor is characterized by very painful contractions that come on a very regular basis. They may start off far apart, they may be 45 minutes or an hour apart and you won't be sure if you're getting the next one. But if you are going into labor they will definitely get closer together and they will definitely become very, very painful. Another sign that you might be going into labor is if you break your water which is usually a big gush of fluid. It usually feels like you've peed all over yourself and not only will that happen, but you will actually continue to leak after that first big gush and that is definitely a reason to call your doctor right away. Some people also think that losing the mucus plug, or having increased pelvic pain, or low back pain is a sign of labor, but not necessarily. So you should really just wait it out for these painful contractions. As you get closer to your due date you may experience more and more of what we call braxton hicks contractions. These contractions are not labor contractions, they're just when the uterus gets super hard like a rock, but there's not a lot of pain associated with it. It is normal to be a little bit uncomfortable, but if they're not painful then they're nothing to worry about. The contractions that you have when you go into labor will be super painful, but don't worry it's a great sign because it means baby is on its way.