Braxton Hicks Contractions

By JustMommies staff

Braxton Hicks contractions are the irregular intermittent contractions that occur during pregnancy. They typically begin around the 20th week of pregnancy, but may begin earlier for women who have had previous pregnancies. Braxton Hicks contractions are described by some as a tightening feeling. Some women describe them as being similar to menstrual cramps. While other women describe Braxton Hicks contractions as a feeling of the baby balling or bunching up in one place.

Women who have had previous pregnancies are more likely to have more frequent and stronger Braxton Hicks contractions. Where as, first time moms may not notice Braxton Hicks contractions at all. Braxton hicks contractions are often described as painless. Although they are generally more of a nuissance, they certainly can be bothersome and cause pain for some women.

Why do I have Braxton Hicks contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions are the body's way of helping you prepare for labor. They may help the baby shift into position for birth and help with softening and ripening of the cervix.

How do I know if I am having Braxton Hicks contractions or real labor?

It may be difficult to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real labor contractions. The biggest difference between the two is that real labor contractions will cause cervical dilation and Braxton Hicks contractions will not cause the cervix to dilate. Real labor contractions will get stronger, longer, and closer together. Real labor contractions will not go away when you change positions or rest.

What can I do to help relieve Braxton Contractions?

Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can cause contractions. Empty your bladder regularly. pinkish discharge. Preterm labor is a serious concern so if you are worried it is always safest to call your doctor.

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