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Comparing Braxton Hicks to True Labor Contractions

The following sections explain in detail how the two different types of contractions differ.
Braxton Hicks Contractions (False Labor)
Signs of Braxton Hicks contractions include the following:
  • The contractions don't get closer together
  • They don't get stronger
  • They are usually only in the front
  • They ease up with activity and are relieved with a change in position
  • The cervix doesn't change.
True Labor Contractions
Signs of contractions associated with true labor include the following:
  • The contractions do get closer together and more painful
  • They get stronger
  • The contractions start in the lower back and spread to the lower abdomen or vice versa
  • They intensify with activity and are not relieved with a change in position
  • The cervix thins and dilates.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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