Pre-labour, also called "prodromal labour," consists of the early signs before labor starts. It is the body's preparation for real labour.
Prodromal labour has been misnamed as “false labour." Prodromal labour begins much as traditional labour but does not progress to the birth of the baby. Not everyone feels this stage of labour, though it does always occur. However, this does not mean that every woman will experience every symptom. The term is used to describe a cluster of physical changes that may take place in a pregnant woman before she goes into "real" labour, such as an increase in blood volume (sometimes resulting in edema), Braxton Hicks contractions, the presence of colostrum in the breasts, and the dislodging of the mucous plug that has sealed the cervix during the pregnancy.
The term "false labour" is sometimes used to describe a cluster of Braxton Hicks contractions that are mistaken for real labour.
The term "false labour" and "false pains" are sometimes considered equivalent.