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How To Tell if You're in Labor


Updated July 03, 2013

Mom in Labor, Dad Helping
Photo © Flying Colours Ltd / Getty Images
The beginning of labor is not always easy to define. There are some ways to find out.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 120 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Time 4 contractions.
  2. Walk around for a bit.
  3. Time 4 more contractions.
  4. Eat and drink something light.
  5. Time 4 more contractions.
  6. If the contractions get further apart, it's not labor.
  7. If the contractions get closer or more intense, it is probably early labor.
  8. Note the duration of the contractions. Contractions that get more intense, that are coming closer together tend to mean that you are in deed in labor. Though being in labor does not necessarily mean running to the hospital.
  9. Contact your doctor or midwife for further instructions, if you are in labor.


  1. Don't time every contraction.
  2. Be sure to write down the information about the contractions you do time, including intensity and duration.
  3. Don't panic.

What You Need

  • Something to time contractions with
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  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Pregnancy & Childbirth
  4. Labor and Birth
  5. Early Labor
  6. Tell if You're in Labor

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