TRUE LABOR VS FALSE LABOR
Many women often experience "false labor" before "true labor" actually begins.
False contractions may begin as early as three or four weeks before the termination
pregnancy. Contractions, show, the cervix, and fetal movement all are vital in
distinguishing between true and false labor (see Table 2-1).
Do not produce progressive
Produce progressive dilation and
dilatation and effacement. Are
effacement of the cervix. Occur
irregular and do not increase in
regularly and increase in
Not present. May have brownish
discharge that may be from
vaginal exam if within the last 48
Becomes effaced and dilates
Usually uneffaced and closed.
No significant change, even
May intensify for a short period or
though fetus continues to move.
it may remain the same.
Table 2-1. True verses false labor.
(1) True labor. The contractions of true labor produce progressive dilatation
and enfacement of the cervix. These contractions occur regularly and increase in
frequency, duration, and intensity. The discomfort of true labor contractions usually
starts in the back and radiates around to the abdomen and is not relieved by walking.
(2) False labor. False labor contractions are referred to as Braxton Hicks
contractions. They do not produce progressive cervical effacement and dilatation.
They are irregular and do not increase in frequency, duration, and intensity. Discomfort
is located chiefly in the lower abdomen and groin area. Walking often offers relief.
b. Show. This is another sign of impending labor. After the discharge of the
mucous plug that has filled the cervical canal during pregnancy, the pressure of the
descending presenting part of the fetus causes the minute capillaries in the cervix to
rupture. This blood is mixed with mucus and therefore has a pink tinge.
(1) True labor. Show is usually present in true labor. There will be pinkish
mucus or a bloody discharge. This mucus or discharge may also be from the mucous
plug from the cervix.