Sep 30, 2010  •  In Personal, Pregnancy

False Labor?

Last night at around 6:30pm I started getting painful contractions which continued to get longer, more frequent, and increased in intensity. At about 8:30 I called my doctor who told me that there’s no way to really tell if I’m in labor or not unless I go into the hospital, but also warned me that since I am a first time mom and I was only 1cm dilated the day before, there’s a chance that I am just having false labor.

I had a hunch that I was really in labor, since I had had my membranes stripped the day before and had been passing my bloody show for about 24 hours. Plus, while I had been having painful braxton-hicks contractions for months now, these contraction pains were different and much stronger.

We decided to wait an hour more, and when the contractions had been lasting 1 minute each and 2-3 minutes apart for that period, we decided to head into labor & delivery.

They hooked me up to the machines to do a non-stress test and checked my cervix…I was dismayed to find that I was STILL only 1cm dilated!

They confirmed that I was having contractions, but since the baby didn’t seem to be in any kind of distress, and because I was only 1cm dilated with no signs of progress, they sent me home. The nurse actually advised me to labor at home for as long as possible, even if my water breaks (since I tested negative for all infections, etc), so that my labor time at the hospital will be minimal.

The funny thing is, while hooked up to the machines at the hospital, my contractions started to decrease in frequency but increased on the pain scale. By the time we returned home I was barely able to walk/talk through them. I was exhausted after a couple of hours of continuing to time them, so I decided to head to bed thinking “How will I ever be able to sleep through this?”…

…then woke up 2 hours later with almost no contractions.

So was this false labor? Should I keep my hopes up that the contractions will return soon, or am I back at square one?

I wish my water would just break so I would KNOW if I’m in labor or not.

P.S. — While checking my cervix the nurse told me that she could feel the baby’s head. Freaky!

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17 Responses to “False Labor?”

  1. kalen says:


    Very similar thing happened to me. WALK. Until you can't stand it any more. Then take a big nap. And I bet you that will be it when you wake up.


  2. socalohana says:

    Wow! Exciting and scary at the same time! Were you able to stay calm through all of it or did things get pretty hectic?

  3. This is SO exciting and exhilirating. Is that weird to say? I think all the anticipation. I know it's frustrating that it wasn't real labor, but YOU ARE SO CLOSE!!!! So close!

  4. Amanda says:

    Same happened to me except I never stopped being in labor. They looked around and sent me home, but labor never stopped. I had my son 3 days later. Yes 74 hours of real labor, hard contractions 2-3 minutes apart. It wasn't until I had an epidural that my body relaxed enough to get to the magic 10cm. Even then they had to put the suction cup on his head and pull him out… stubborn kid.

  5. vir says:

    It will be real soon! The same thing happened to me and I was just dying for her to get out of there. While frustrating to get "sent home," I do think the suggestion to labor at home as long as possible is a good one. I went to the hospital the day before K's birth, 2 cm dilated and they gave me the choice to stay and be checked often, or to go home. I am SO glad I chose home! My water did not break until I was 10 cm and pushing so I didn't have that indicator either… but trust your instincts more than the clock, more than anything else right now. They'll help clue you in to if it's real labor or not. For me, I could not walk or talk — it was all I could do to curl up in a ball on the floor and just try to breathe while literally sobbing aloud through the pain. It was at that point that even though according to the books, my contractions weren't close enough together — it dawned on me that I needed to get to the hospital.

  6. MrsW says:

    How exciting! I know this is probably not the way you want to think about it, but… I had absolutely ZERO contractions and was finally induced at 42 weeks (with still, absolutely NO contractions until the pitocin kicked in). I am anxious to experience some of the "is it? isn't it?" kind of feelings that you are experiencing right now with my next pregnancy. I say all that to mean: enjoy it (as much as you can)! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Donna says:

    Just saw FB – CONGRATS!! I can't wait to hear the whole story and see pictures of your little bundle!!

  8. Long time reader says:

    Congratulations! Beautiful name ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Christina says:

    Congratulations on the birht of your little girl. Enjoy her!

  10. alycia says:

    just saw your tweet- YAY!!!!! congratulations :o)

  11. Ella says:

    Just saw the tweet! Congrats! The name is so beautiful

  12. Stephanie says:

    HOORAY!!!! Just saw the tweets – congrats Mama!! I've been checking your blog every day, praying for you that it was time. What a beautiful name! I hope your new family has some lovely time together… although we will, of course, be dying for your updates. ๐Ÿ™‚ And photos!

  13. Congrats Jenny!!! Your daughter looks beautiful, and her name is just PERFECT!! Can't wait to see more pictures of her and your brand new THREE person family!!! Of course, after you've taken a lot of time to rest and relax and then get a fairly normal sleep schedule…. ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. Jen says:

    Congrats! I've been following your journey and glad your bundle of joy is finally here!

  15. Ashlee says:

    Congratulations!! I hadn't checked in since your last post and figured something was up – then noticed your tweets! Such a perfect little girl you have there. All the best for your happy little family. ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS. Claire was nearly going to be my daughters name… adorable!

  16. mina says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! cannot wait to hear all about it. take care of yourself and the little one, and enjoy this special time!

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