The real deal
Each contraction will cause you to feel a tightening in your uterus. It may feel like a dull ache similar to menstrual cramps or a low backache. But when you start to have contractions at regular intervals (every 10 to 15 minutes or less) with increasing intensity, they are likely not Braxton Hicks, or false, contractions.
You’ll want to time each contraction for duration (from when it starts to when it stops) and frequency (from the start of one contraction to the beginning of the next). Use an app, like Full Term – Labor Contraction Timer (free for iOS), to help keep track when the pains of labor take over.
You’ll want to give your health care provider a heads up when your contractions are occurring every five minutes and have kept up for at least an hour, so she knows a baby is on the way.
Tip: To stay as relaxed as possible through your contractions, breathe deeply and try applying a soothing ice pack or heating pad to your lower back.