Contractions every 10 minutes: should I go to the hospital?

February 12, 2024

Contractions every 10 minutes can be a sign that labor has begun, and every woman needs to recognize them. In this article, we will try to answer some of your questions about prepartum contractions.

How long can contractions every 10 minutes last?

Contractions every 10 minutes can last from a few seconds to several minutes. This depends on what stage of labor you are in.

During the early stage of labor, contractions can last from 30 to 60 seconds and be spaced out for about 20 minutes. As labor progresses, contractions become longer, more intense, and more frequent, until they peak in frequency and length when you have sufficient dilation to begin natural childbirth.

How many contractions to go to the hospital?

The general rule is that you should go to the hospital when your contractions occur every five minutes for at least an hour. However, if your contractions are too painful to manage at home, or if you notice any other signs of labor (such as loss of amniotic fluid), you should go to the hospital immediately. This does not, of course, guarantee that you will be admitted. Unfortunately, many hospitals stick to the five-minute rule practically to the letter, and it could still happen that after monitoring, they will still send you home and ask you to return when the frequency is met.

How to tell if they are labor contractions?

Labor contractions are usually regular and increase in intensity over time. In contrast, Braxton Hicks contractions-“sham” contractions that can occur during pregnancy-are irregular and do not increase in intensity. Also, labor contractions do not disappear when you change position or move, whereas Braxton Hicks contractions can. You will notice the difference because you will find it very difficult to move or do anything when the real contractions start and the body begins to prepare for labor.

Contractions every 10 minutes

When do strong contractions begin?

Strong contractions generally begin during the active phase of labor. This phase begins when the cervix has dilated about 4 to 6 centimeters and contractions become more intense and frequent, often lasting 45 to 60 seconds and occurring every 3 to 5 minutes. However, they may start before having a dilation like the one just mentioned reach a frequency, and then slow down. In those cases, it may be necessary to support the delivery and proceed with an induction, membrane disconnection, or possible cesarean, but all of these choices will then be made by the medical staff at the hospital.

Remember that if the situation is not manageable at home, go to the hospital anyway so that you can be sure to have adequate attention should you need it (yes, even if the contractions only come every ten minutes).

How can you tell if you are dilating?

Several signs can indicate if your cervix is dilating. These include more frequent and intense contractions, loss of the mucus plug (a thick, jelly-like secretion), and increased pelvic pressure. However, the only sure way to know if the cervix is dilating is through an internal examination by a healthcare professional.

How many contractions per minute to give birth?

During the last stage of labor before delivery, contractions can last up to 90 seconds and can occur every 2-3 minutes. However, every woman is different and the number of contractions per minute may vary. At this time, you need to prepare yourself for everything you studied in the preterm class because before long you will have your baby in your arms. Make sure in advance to find out if your hospital is equipped to give you an epidural, so you can limit your pain if you need it.

We are with you.

Parentalife hopes this article has been helpful to you. Remember that every pregnancy is unique, so it is important to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare professional to get the best possible information for you and your baby. We support your parent life with guides, so you can feel safer and more prepared.


Kjerulff KH, Attanasio LB, Vanderlaan J, Sznajder KK. Timing of hospital admission at first childbirth: A prospective cohort study. PLoS One. 2023 Feb 16;18(2):e0281707. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281707. PMID: 36795737; PMCID: PMC9934383.

About the Author

Severino Cirillo

Health, Wellness and Education Expert. With a degree in Community Health, he is the CEO of Informed Parent and is responsible for validating the blog's scientific information and coordinating the editorial team of experts, consisting of gynecologists, midwives, psychotherapists, and others in pregnancy, perinatal, and parenting wellness and health.