The Importance of False Labor: 4 Facts for You

What are False Labor Pains?

Most women will feel some false labor pains. Known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, these false labor pains are irregular and will last about 30 seconds. They may begin as early as six months into the pregnancy, and may continue off and on until your actual labor does start. Braxton-Hicks contractions, or false labor pains, are often a source of worry for women, especially those for whom this is a first pregnancy.


At the end of a pregnancy they can seem very much like regular contractions, and many women dash off to the hospital convinced that the baby is on the way. Despite the annoyance of these false labor contractions and the anxiety they may cause, they do serve a very real purpose.

A Woman’s Body During Pregnancy

A woman’s body changes drastically in a short period of time, beginning with conception. By the time the woman is ready to give birth, she has doubled the amount of fluid in her body, gained weight and her cervix has begun to dilate, just to name a few. Another change in her body happens with her uterus as it begins preparing for birth. False labor pains, or Braxton-Hicks contractions, are the body’s way of preparing the uterus for the rigors of birth.

1) One of the ways that false labor prepares the baby and the mother for birth is by helping move the baby into the correct position. In order for the baby to be safely delivered, the baby must be in the correct head down position. These false contractions can subtly guide the baby into position so that it will be ready for the actual birth process.

2) Another way that false labor is important is that the contractions help prepare the mother’s uterus for delivery. If unaided, labor can be long and painful. The onset of false labor contractions can reduce the amount of time a woman is in labor because her uterus is already conditioned and ready for the real contractions.

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