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Braxton Hicks Contractions


Most pregnant women experience these sometimes irritating “contractions”, and are unsure if they really contractions if they normal, and if they are dangerous? These are questions that many women ask as their pregnancy progresses past the first trimester.

In reality, Braxton Hicks contractions, named after an English doctor from the 19th Century, John Braxton Hicks, are a normal part of every pregnancy and start when a woman is still in her first trimester, at about 6 weeks pregnant into the pregnancy. However, most women don’t feel them until at least late in the second trimester, or for first-time mothers, in the third trimester.

What is a Braxton Hicks Contraction?
A Braxton Hicks contraction is a contraction of the uterus that is normally painless, but can sometimes be quite irritating. It consists of a localized tightening in your belly, which does not travel, but stays in one spot. These are considered to be practice contractions, to prepare you for the real thing when labor does start. Braxton Hicks contractions can be intense enough to take your breath away, and make you stop and take notice, but they generally do not cause any change in your cervix, nor are they a sign of preterm labor.

How Do I Know it is Not the Real Thing?
If you uterus is contracting, but there is no pain, especially prior to the last few weeks of pregnancy, it is probably just a normal Braxton Hicks contraction. If you are in the third trimester, and close to delivering, you may question them more.

To see if your contractions go away, or are the start of the real thing, try changing position in bed or on the couch. If you are walking around, sit down and rest and visa versa. Try taking a warm bath to see if that relaxes you. If your contractions are Braxton Hicks, then these tips should help them go away, for the time being at least.

When Should I Call My Doctor or Midwife?
You should always call your provider if you have questions or concerns about how your pregnancy is progressing. If you are not at the end of your pregnancy and your Braxton Hicks contractions won’t go away by trying the above methods, and are instead getting more frequent, intense or painful, you should call your doctor or midwife to let them know, and see if they recommend coming in to the office or hospital to be checked.

As you get close to 37 weeks pregnant, towards the end of the third trimester, ask your doctor or midwife when they will want you to inform them about ongoing contractions. Most providers will have a set time that they tell you, normally when the contractions are 5 minutes apart or less, and last for an extended amount of time. When in doubt, it is always best to call and ask.

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11 Responses to “Braxton Hicks Contractions”

  1. 11
    parvinder kaur Says:

    all my pregnancy weeks are painless is it a normal ?

  2. 10
    mum of 5 almost 6 Says:

    29 weeks pregnant with number 6, getting lots of braxton hicks and lots of white discharge (sorry for TMI) can’t walk to shop which is 5 mins away without getting a burning/ripping pain, I know the more u have the more pain u get but this is intense, normal or not??

  3. 9
    patkings Says:

    am in my 38th weeks and experienced the contractions in the 37th week twice,it was not so painful

  4. 8
    Natalie Says:

    Im currently 22 weeks preg with second baby, im sitting at my desk in the office and having extremely painful contractions??
    Im not sure what to do and my gynae is out of town for the month!!
    Please help????

  5. 7
    MummyTo2LittleGirls Says:

    Iv been having tightning in my upper stomach for the past few days but have lasted all day I’m 22 weeks pregnant and can’t remember this with my first is it braxtin hicks?

  6. 6
    Braxtonhick contractions | Micksmiracles Says:

    […] Braxton Hicks Contractions | Pregnancy | Baby, Pregnancy, andWhat are Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor), and what do they feel like? Get information about the symptoms of false labor, which is common during the third trimester of pregnancy. … Braxton Hicks or True Labor Contractions? […]

  7. 5
    Betty Says:

    My hospital/doctor sent me home when I was in early labor because I was only dialaited to 1. I stayed home till I saw that I had lost my mucous plug. It was then I knew I was in real labor and they couldn’t send me home again. In three pregnancies my water never broke until it was broken in delivery.

  8. 4
    Pregnancy Dehydration | Health & Safety | Baby, Pregnancy, and Parenting at Babies Online Says:

    […] the mom-to-be and the baby. Dehydration often leads to premature labor as your uterus will start contracting. If you think this might be the case, try drinking at least two big glasses of water and laying […]

  9. 3
    False Labor | Pregnancy | Baby, Pregnancy, and Parenting at Babies Online Says:

    […] between the real thing and false labor? False labor can appear in many forms. Many people will feel Braxton Hicks contractions for months, and associate this as false labor. As you get closer to the end of your […]

  10. 2
    Axoo Says:

    Last night i woke up with a painful braxton hick which continued as menustration cramps for 45 minutes. And it started to ease of and i drift off to sleep. when i woke up i did have mild cramps and today also i’m having mild cramps now and then but not at painful as lastnight. Im right now 31 weeks and 3 days preg

  11. 1
    margaret wanjiku Says:

    this article has been helping me so much and i would like to continue with u till i concieve

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