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Even though I have had 5 children, it is still really difficult for me to tell when I am truly in labor. This last pregnancy I went to the hospital twice in false labor!!! How did you know you were truly in labor? – Bonnie, StrongMoms Facilitator
My early labor felt pretty strong to me, so I thought I really was in labor but then when the later, stronger contractions came, I realized I wasn't. Every woman is different but in my case I needed to try walking and drinking water. If they went away after I hydrated myself or tried to walk it off, then it really wasn't labor. Also, if I could still laugh and talk during contractions, it was usually was false labor or at least very early labor. When I had to concentrate on getting through them and they were regular/close together, it was show time! :-)
For me, all I do is timed the contractions if the contractions is closer then its time for me to go to the hospital and some other symptoms followed.
I went to the hospital when I knew I was in labor, but it was easy for me because I knew for sure since my water broke right before I was going to leave to the hospital. Anyway, bloody show in an indicator of labor coming soon, your water breaking, and remember for contractions: longer, stronger, closer together. Keep track for 2 hours and if they are at least 40 seconds long and happen every 5 minutes then it is labor. That is how I knew when I went into labor with my son. They were exactly 40 seconds long and exactly 5 minutes apart.