Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor contractions are common during the third trimester as your uterus muscle practices exercising for your big day. They will usually fade away if you change the level of your activity. If you were in bed and get up and walk or if you were walking and lay down, this will usually help them to ease away. They may also ease up if you eat, drink, relax and soak in a tub or take a warm shower.
True Labor contractions will get longer, stronger and closer together. You will find it difficult to walk or talk through true labor contractions. True labor contractions are felt mostly in the lower abdomen or lower back. They will not go away by eating, drinking, or changing the level of your activity. These contractions will cause your cervix to thin out called effacement and to widen called dilatation. These contractions will help you push your baby lower down into the birth canal. This may make you experience more pelvic pressure than usual. If your contractions are 5 minutes apart or closer for over an hour and lasting a full minute, or if your water has broken or you are experiencing bloody show of labor it is time to be in contact with your midwife or ob/gyn to decide when it is time to head to the birth center or hospital or have your midwife come if you are planning a home birth.
It is important to share your questions about when to call and when to come in for your birth with your midwife or ob/gyn during your prenatal visits and to know how to reach them after the office is closed.