Before becoming pregnant (in fact before I was 40 weeks pregnant!) I had never heard of prodromal or ‘false’ labour before. I just assumed you had your contractions, your water’s broke (in either order) and bam you’re in labour and will welcome your bundle of joy in the next few hours!
How wrong I was…
By the time I was ‘due’ on 7th February 2020 like many other women I was getting fed up with pregnancy and looked for every possible sign that labour was starting. I also experienced ‘prodromal labour’ and it certainly didn’t feel false!
I learned from healthline that prodromal labour can occur any time in the month before childbirth and has the primary symptom of Braxton Hicks contractions which can become regular and feel like the real thing. There’s no doubt about it, this can be very frustrating. I had many sleepless nights in the lead-up to labour due to these contractions and the excitement it gave me (especially once we were at 41 weeks and trying everything to induce labour!)
When will I know it is the real thing?
In the last few days of pregnancy I obsessively googled – Braxton Hicks vs. real labour? I was often disappointed by the results – I never felt I could really see the difference and in my desperation to be in labour I basically convinced myself I was every time anyway!
One way I knew for sure that it was finally the real thing was when the contractions actually woke me up and I couldn’t go back to sleep. They were not unbearable but they hurt like very bad period pains. I was able to bounce on my amazing pregnancy ball and watch ‘Friends’ at 3am to give my husband some more sleep but by 4am I had him up and getting us ready for hospital as by this point the pain was getting intense.
I know it is easier said than done but try to ignore the evil witch that is prodromal labour so long as it is mild – you really will know when the real labour kicks in! (Disclaimer – I take no responsibility for this advice resulting in babies born on bathroom floors!!!)
Did anyone else experience these early labour symptoms in the weeks before childbirth? Did they amount to anything or fade away? I’d love to hear your stories!