There are various factors to tell you the difference between Braxton Hicks and real labor. You’ll be able to tell through things like the pattern of the contraction, the location of the pain you’re feeling, and so on.
The first thing you have to ask yourself is how often the contractions you’re experiencing are happening. Braxton Hicks are pretty random, and they don’t happen in a regular pattern.
And as mentioned before, they only last 30 seconds, and their time doesn’t increase over the pregnancy.
On the other hand, real labor contractions happen at regular patterns and can last anywhere from 30 to 70 seconds. Their intensity increases over time as well.
The intensity of the contractions should be a good indication to tell you what you’re experiencing.
With Braxton Hicks, the contractions can stop when you simply take a walk, stretch, or even lay down in a comfortable position. And while yes, they are uncomfortable, their pain is bearable and isn’t very intense.
However, with real labor, the contractions continue to increase in time and intensity even if you walk or stretch. And the pain and intensity keep increasing as time passes.
The place where you’re feeling the pain of the contractions can be a good lead for you to know which is happening as well. When it comes to Braxton Hicks, the pain is usually felt in the pelvis or the abdomen only.
On the other hand, real labor contractions can affect your back and lower back. It can also circulate between your abdomen and your back. And it makes your whole body, in general, tense.