Q. I am eight months pregnant with my first baby. I’m quite nervous about the beginning of the labour process. What is the difference between true labour and false labour?
As a first-time mum, it can be unnerving when you get into those last few weeks – constantly wondering “is this it?” and “will I really know if this is it?” First off, there’s no such thing as false labour. Your body is not tricking you or playing games with your head – there is a huge amount of ‘behind the scenes’ work happening long before dilation begins, as your body is doing those last few preparations before the big day. Some mums experience what I call ‘warm ups’ during the last trimester. Think of your uterus as this amazing muscle that is warming up – just like you would warm up your muscles before any other athletic activity.
Warm ups will come and go – labour won’t stop when you change position, lie down or have a bath. Warm ups can happen if you’re dehydrated so make sure you’re drinking to thirst in pregnancy. They can also be your body signalling to you that you’re doing too much. Warm ups may be your body helping rotate your baby into a more favourable position before birth.
When labour starts it’s generally accompanied by other signs such as bloody mucous (show) waters releasing and an increasing need to really focus and reduce distractions around you. So until you’re having other signs that baby is making his way to you, rest, rehydrate and look forward to meeting your baby.