Braxton Hicks contractions are sporadic uterine contractions that usually start after the 6th week of pregnancy. Usually, these contractions are felt from the pregnant women only later during pregnancy (Read also: Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period). There is always the possibility of not feeling these contractions at all.
As the pregnancy progresses, these contractions tend to be more often and more painful. Sometimes as you come closer to the due date, contractions tend to be irregular, infrequent and painless.
What are Braxton Hicks Contractions?
Braxton Hicks contractions are sometimes hard to distinguish from the true labor contractions, so if you are over the 37th week of pregnancy, you should not try to make your own diagnosis. Rather, you should get checked by your doctor, as the baby might be coming.
These contractions tend to prepare your uterus and the entire body for the delivery (Learn also: Vaginal Rejuvenation). You might not be ready yet for the baby to come, but your body is getting ready for the delivery. Braxton Hicks contractions are the so called practice time before the true labor contractions start.
Dehydration, physical activity or even sex, trigger these contractions.
What do Braxton Hicks contractions feel like?
Braxton Hicks contractions usually start early in pregnancy and tend to be more noticeable as the pregnancy progresses. These contractions are usually painless and irregular. However, sometimes these contractions can be uncomfortable, painful and strong. During Braxton Hicks contractions, the uterus, the lower abdominal area and groin contract and relax.
Difference Between Braxton Hicks and Real Contractions
As the due date comes closer, the Braxton Hicks contractions tend to become more rhythmic, painful and frequent. But, not until the true labor starts, the contractions don’t become longer, stronger and frequent. Braxton Hicks contractions usually last between 15 and 30 seconds, while true labor contractions last between 30 and 70 seconds. The Braxton Hicks contractions usually ease as you change the position, while true labor contractions don’t change with the change of the position. True labor contractions are also accompanied with other signs and symptoms of labor like water brake, pinkish discharge or even bloody discharge from the vagina (Learn more: Vaginal Discharge During Pregnancy). If contractions tend to become intense and more frequent, and if you are having more than four contractions in one hour, there is a great possibility that you are in labor. Seek medical help gynecology Brooklyn, NY immediately. This is especially important in cases when you are less than 37th week pregnant. Don’t forget that you might be having the baby before time for various reasons.