So you're wondering if you're having false labor or real labor? Is that bloody show or Braxton-Hicks contractions? Did your water break? And when do you call the doctor anyway? Maybe I should just go nest a bit more.
Answer a couple of quick questions to see where you fall into things on the grand scheme of real labor versus false labor to prevent you from going to the hospital too soon.
The reason that it's important to know if you are in labor is basically how you respond. If it is real labor, you will want to rest up and use comfort measures to help you stay comfortable until harder labor kicks in. That said, some women will have periods of contractions that are not labor. This does not mean that you don't need comfort measures, but that you might choose different behaviors to stay comfortable.