Updated: Sep 5, 2022
A contraction is when your uterus tightens and then relaxes. Contractions are your body's way of getting ready for real labor.
Braxton Hicks contractions can feel like mild menstrual cramps and uncomfortable. They often come with a change of position and stop with rest. You can talk, walk and go about your normal activities during Braxton Hicks contractions.
Braxton Hick's contractions feel a little like menstrual cramps. They are felt in the front of your abdomen, but not in your back or lower part of your uterus. It's uncomfortable but not painful.
Some women describe Braxton Hicks contractions as tightening in their belly that comes and goes. Many say it is similar to mild menstrual cramps. Braxton Hicks contractions may be uncomfortable, but they don’t cause labor or open your cervix.
First-time pregnant mommies may not notice them as much (or even at all) or may not feel them as intensely as those who are pregnant for the second time. You may have Braxton Hicks contractions during your third trimester of pregnancy or as early as your second trimester. They’re normal and nothing to worry about.
Many people can't pinpoint exactly what triggers their Braxton Hicks contractions. However, they tend to feel more intense and happen more often as pregnancy progresses. Some people notice them more after exercise and intercourse, or if they're dehydrated.
What you can do?
Time your contractions. Write down how much time it takes from the start of one contraction to the start of the next. Pay attention to how much pain you feel. Do this for about an hour.
Braxton Hicks contractions only last between 30 seconds and two minutes. If you find the contractions uncomfortable, do your best to calm down when they strike. Try lying down and relaxing, or getting up and walking around, and practice your breathing exercises until they pass.
Note: Braxton Hicks contractions are a natural part of pregnancy and don't mean anything is wrong. Your body is simply preparing for labor. Braxton Hicks means your body is preparing for labor, and it doesn't mean labor is starting. You can experience Braxton Hicks weeks or months before real labor begins. But it is important to understand the signs of labor so that you know when to call your doctor.
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