How Do You Know When It’s Time for Giving Birth: Difference Between True Labor and False Labor

How Do You Know When It’s Time for Giving Birth: Difference Between True Labor and False Labor

It’s normal to count down the days until giving birth, but you also need to be able to determine whether or not you are actually in labor. This can be difficult for any pregnant woman to discern, and it may be even more complicated if this is your first baby. After all, contractions of any type are definitely going to get your attention, but it is important to read through this list before heading to the hospital prematurely.

Five Signs of False Labor

1. Your Cervix Isn’t Dilating

If your body is truly preparing to give birth, your cervix will dilate to 3 cm during the first stage of labor. In false labor, no cervix dilation will occur. Therefore, when in doubt, it is always easy for a healthcare professional or midwife to make a determination based on this one factor.

2. Your Contractions Are in Your Lower Abdomen

Some people erroneously believe that women do not experience true contractions during false labor. Although this is not actually true, the contractions that you have will be different from those that accompany the process of giving birth.

If you feel contractions primarily in your lower abdomen instead of having them start off in your lower back, the odds are high that you are in false labor.


3. Your Contractions Are Unpredictable

With real labor, your body goes through a series of contractions that become increasingly intense and more frequent. For example, you might have contractions that are 10 minutes apart at first, but this time frame will begin to dwindle as you get closer to needing medical attention.

With false labor, it is common to have contractions that do not come within any set time period. Additionally, their severity is likely to vary greatly, and undertaking some light physical activity may cause them to stop altogether.

4. Giving Birth Requires Your Water to Break

You can be in the first stage of real labor for a while before your water breaks, but you should also experience other signs of true labor by this point. On the contrary, false labor will be accompanied by contractions, but your water will not break.

In other words, if your water has not yet broken and your contractions are irregular, you are probably not actually in labor.


5. You Haven’t Noticed Any Bloody Show

The name bloody show may not seem very pleasant, but it describes the natural process that your body goes through when it is preparing to give birth. Bloody show is a phrase that encompasses the brown or pink tinged mucus discharge that usually happens around the 39 week mark. This stringy indicator of your cervix beginning to open up is the first thing that many women notice before going into real labor.

Five Signs of True Labor

1. Your Contractions Are Getting Stronger

Real labor can include some inconsistent contractions in the beginning, but they will become more predictable as you progress through the first stage of giving birth. Timing your contractions is one of the easiest ways to know for certain that it is time to go to the hospital or call your midwife.

Keep in mind that there is no point in seeking medical attention until you have exited the first stage of labor and your cervix has become dilated to more than 3 cm.

2. Your Contractions Feel Like Cramps

True labor contractions often feel like the onset of menstrual cramps. This means that you will feel them in your lower back, and they will eventually work their way into your abdomen. Some women may not feel the contractions very strongly in the lower section of their abdomen until they start to get closer together.


3. You Pass the Mucus Plug

The previously mentioned bloody show is part of passing the mucus plug, and this must happen before you can enter true labor. Keep in mind that this process can happen anywhere from a few hours until several days before labor actually begins. Either way, without the mucus plug being passed, you are not actually going into labor.

4. Your Water Breaks

Your water will break at some point during the first phase of true labor. However, it is possible for women to experience something similar to their water breaking without having any contractions. If this happens, be sure to talk to your doctor right away. As long as you are feeling contractions and your water has broken, it is time to prepare yourself to soon meet your newborn daughter or son.

5. Your Cervix is Dilating

As your body prepares to give birth, your cervix will go through the effacement process. This entails becoming dilated, softer and thinner so that you are able to safely deliver your baby. Passing the mucus plug is the beginning of your cervix’s eventual dilation to 10 cm.

As you can see, there are some similarities between false and true labor. However, a little knowledge will make it clear what is actually happening to your body.


Now that you know how to quickly figure out if you are in false labor or experiencing the real deal, it is a good idea to take some time to treat yourself before your newborn baby arrives.

Featured photo credit: Meagan, via flickr via

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.


Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.


A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.


For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.


Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.


Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.


Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:



When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:


Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via


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