Braxton Hicks contractions: How do they work?

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Written By DerrickCalvert

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Braxton Hicks contractions can also be called practice or false contractions. They are found in the uterus, and prepare it for giving birth. They prepare the cervix to give birth. This is normal and is not a sign that you are going to labour.

What causes Braxton Hicks contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions can be caused by everyday events, such as:

  • Vigorous rubbing your uterus
  • You or your baby will be more active
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Dehydration
  • A full bladder
  • Stress
  • Inadequate Sleep

These contractions will usually stop when you move or do something else. These tightenings are usually painless and not persistent.

How do Braxton Hicks contractions feel?

Braxton Hicks contractions can feel like your stomach muscles are contracting. This sensation can last up to one minute. These contractions can be uncomfortable, but they shouldn’t feel painful. You can feel the uterus tightening if you touch the abdomen during contractions. These contractions are irregular and don’t follow a pattern. They tend to fade gradually.

What time can you expect them to be there?

Braxton Hicks contractions may occur in the third trimester. Every woman experiences Braxton Hicks contractions differently so they are not an indication that you are in labor.

How can you tell the difference in Braxton Hicks from labour contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions are likely to cause you to feel a tightening sensation in your uterus. These are often irregular and not permanent, and they don’t usually cause any bleeding. It’s like your uterus practicing! They are believed to play an important role in toning the muscles of the uterus in preparation for birth and in stimulating blood flow to the placenta.

You should consider the possibility of labour contractions in the last month. How can you tell the difference?

These are the telltale signs

  • Contractions can be inconsistent

Labor contractions are regular and last between 30 to 80 seconds. Braxton Hicks contractions are less consistent and last for a shorter time.

  • Increased frequency

Braxton Hicks contractions are not more frequent. Labor contractions on the other side increase in frequency as you near delivery. You can track the frequency of your labor contractions to determine when you should go to the labour ward.

  • Continuity

Braxton Hicks contractions are unlikely to stop, particularly if you move or do something else. The intensity of labour contractions will increase over time, and there will not be a break in the pattern once they begin.

  • The intensity and the location of discomfort

You will feel the pain of labor contractions throughout your abdomen, lower back and stomach. You may also feel the pain in your legs and sides. Braxton Hicks contractions aren’t painful and cause only discomfort at the front of the abdomen.

  • Other signs that you are nearing labour

A few hours or days before you go into labor, there may be an increase in your vaginal discharge. Therefore, contractions that occur after that point are likely to indicate the beginning of labour pains. Your water breaking is a sign that you are in labour.

There are other reasons that you might feel abdominal pain while pregnant

Braxton Hicks contractions can cause abdominal pain and discomfort. However, it may be more simple to be:

  • Gasopless
  • Ligament pain in the lower abdomen, groin or both
  • Constipation
  • Appendicitis and kidney stones are two other surgical issues.

When is it appropriate to see a doctor for medical concerns?

You should consult your doctor if you are nearing your due date and are unsure if Braxton Hicks contractions are real or not. If these are labour contractions, then you can follow your birth plan and look forward for your baby’s arrival. You should seek emergency care immediately if you feel pain during contractions, especially if they occur before your due date.