Third Trimester

Labour pains: what are they and how to recognize them?

January 06 , 2020
Dr. Nashwa skaik
an obstetrician and gynecologist with a special interest in fetal medicine, nutrition and humanitarian activities, she worked previously as an ob...More

If you are a first time mama, or maybe not, you are probably feeling anxious every time you experience pain in your tummy, and wonder if these are labour pains or pains that are not related to labour.

In this article I will explain firstly the different types of labour pains and secondly other causes of belly pain during pregnancy.

First: Types of Labour Pains:

  1. False labour pains:

Most pregnant ladies will experience this type of pain around the fourth month of pregnancy. It happens due to the fact that your uterus is preparing itself for the true labour.

How do you recognise them? The pain is usually does go on and off, mostly at the end of the day, is not regular and is not associated with any other symptoms.

  1. True labour pains:

These are regular contractions that normally happens after 37 weeks gestation. Your uterus is made of muscles that contracts anytime after 37 weeks and your belly feels hard like a rock.

It happens at regular intervals. Between each contraction your belly becomes soft again. This highly suggestive that you may get your baby soon!

This pain is associated with back pain, vaginal discharge that is clear, white or a bit mixed with blood which is completely normal. Go to hospital immediately once you have experienced this.

Preterm labour pains:

It has exact same characteristics of the true labour; however it happens before 37 weeks gestation, in other words, any time before the last three weeks of your current pregnancy. This kind of pain is abnormal, and you should seek help immediately.

What to do when you experience real labour pains?

Even if not completely sure, call your doctor or midwife immediately if you feel the time has come.

They will provide you with the proper guidance and offer help. Regular contractions every 5 to 6 minutes, bleeding and water breaking are three important signs that the big day is here

Second: Non labour pain

Belly pains could happen due to many different reasons and at any time during pregnancy.

The most common type of pain is the one that happen due to an infection in the urinary bladder when you feel lower belly pain associated with pain on urination and may be low grade fever. Immediately see your doctor if you experienced this at any moment.

Also, pains in your belly might be due to other reasons such as stomach upset, colon gas, diarrhea and vomiting.

Other rare causes associated with your appendix or the ovaries. Be careful and seek doctors advice as soon as you feel unusual pains, he/she will make sure you are well- assessed and timely treated in order to keep yourself and your baby safe.