Will I know labour is starting?

I'm 37wks and have had constant Braxton Hicks since 28 weeks. In the last 3 weeks they've been getting more intense and some are really quite painful - they can take my breath away and I need to stop what I'm doing and breathe through them. Sometimes I have 4 or 5 in an hour. I'm a bit concerned that if I don't have a show or waters breaking I might not realise I'm in labour right away. When I ask people they are dismissive saying 'oh, don't worry, you'll know' but their experience of Braxton hicks was painless, mine really isn't! Anyone had experience of this? Midwife says the intensity of my BHs is quite unusual but not a bad thing because my uterus will be very limbered up for labour! I just hope I know it's happening when it is...

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9 Replies

  • It's very fraustrating people telling you you will know but you do. I had pretty strongbraxton hicks that would make me stop walking.

    My labour started with my waters going so I had heads up that my tightenings were the real thing. To start I do think they feel like Braxton but there is a rhythm to them and a regularity. They then get more intense and don't let up.

    Good luck x

  • When I was pregnant with my 1st I asked lots of women how am I going to know when labour starts? And the reply was you just know I thought how would I just know as I have never done it before????......but that's the truth you just know, I remember getting up for the loo in the early hours of the morning and I felt my 1st contraction I woke my husband and said its started and sure enough 36 hours later we had our son. I had my show at home a good few hours after my 1st contraction, but I had my waters broken at hospital so don't worry if the don't go or you don't get your show 1st you'll know when it time ;)

    Good luck and I look forward to your announcement of little one getting here soon x x

  • I didn't suffer any Braxton hicks before my lil man came so I'm sure your confused on how to tell !! For me I had a sweep on my due date and my waters broke as she was doing it :) very embarrassing as I thought I had wee'd myself lol when they broke I immediately started to feel lower back ache and as time went on I felt light period like pains I wasn't sure if they were contractions as i didn't have BH and it was my first baby but they got stronger and more regular from my waters going to giving birth was 8hrs 45mins all fairly quick with 2 hours pushing :) I'm sure when the time comes it will feel different and hopefully you'll no :) not much help just wanted to share, hope all goes well and bubba will be here soon !! Xx

  • U can have contractions on and off for days stopping and starting but it's only when they become regular and u have to start breathing them thru that's when the party gets started! Basically the braxton hicks ur getting sound similar to the beginning of contractions all the best :)

  • Hi,

    Braxton hicks contractions can start to happen quite regularly anything from week 29 of pregnancy as the baby has/is gaining weight rapidly & is ( or least should) start gearing up for labour day by getting into position.

    The birth of both my children started of with a unbearable pressure in my lower back to bowels area.

    I remember feeling a few sort of braxton hick contractions with my last pregnancy last year during the last 5- to 6 weeks of the pregnancy but nothing with my 1st child.

    The best possible way to know for sure if labour has definitely started is to try & keep track of the timing of any contractions you're feeling & if they seem to be getting closer every time the next one arrives it's probably it.

    Good luck & I'm sure you'll know when it's time.


  • I never had Braxton hicks & my waters didn't break till about an hour before I gave birth - everyone told me I'd know when it was labour but I didn't, got to hospital expecting to be checked over & sent hme & 5 hours later I'd had the baby. If these feel regular & like you have to stop & breathe through them maybe get a midwife to check you out just to be sure.

  • The night before I went into labour I had what felt like contractions for about 4 hours really quite painful n had to breath through them n then I woke up in the morning n they must of stopped because id fallen to sleep. The next day tummy was tight all day n round about 4pm same pains started again thought it might be another false start but they just kept coming n got worse n worse I must v missed my show n they had to break my waters at hospital so think the main way u know its real is there's no let up n they get worse by the next morning there was definitely no question whether I was in labour!

  • From 36wks I had really strong bh. Every night att 6pm the bh would start and get regular, coming every 5 mins. My water didn't break until 1hr before I delivered. I must admit I didn't know the difference as my labour contractions were same as my bh except they started at 3am. I called delivery suite when even a Bath couldn't give me any pain relief nor the cocodemol tthat the hospital had gave me at my last false alarm. The contractions stayed at 5 mins apart that day but got quite intense. I went to delivery suite and was 2cm dilated but it took until 3pm that day to be 4cm dilated. I asked for pethidine and was knocked out cold until 7pm when the pain was so bad I couldn't stop sucking on gas n air. After 1 hr the midwife decided to examine me and it was go time. My water broke and we started pushing. Erica was born at 9.22pm On her due date. I believe the 4wks of strong bh helped make it a quick labour. Hang in there and pester the delivery suite if ur not sure. Better safe than sorry x

  • Thankyou all so much for these replies - it's all really helpful! x

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