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Pregnancy

What Are Braxton Hicks Contractions and why do they occur

How do you know if you are having Braxton Hicks contractions

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Very few women undergo pregnancy without fear, and the contractions of Braxton Hicks are some of the things that can cause a lot of anxiety during pregnancy. If you’re a mom, then chances are you’ve heard of Braxton Hicks contractions and may have even found out the hard way. Often called false labor (rightly so) Braxton Hicks contractions often feel like the real thing to the first time mom.

But what are Braxton Hicks contractions, and how do you tell when it is actual labor and not glorified stomach cramps? Braxton Hicks contractions start to occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy. They become more intense as the pregnancy progresses and the baby grows. This is why your spouse may not be aware of them until the late stages of pregnancy.

What Causes the Braxton Hicks Contractions?

There are possible causes of these contractions. Some doctors and midwives believe that they play a role in strengthening the uterine muscle and promoting blood flow to the placenta.

The exact reason for them is not known. It has been speculated that they help prepare the uterus and the muscles eventually used for pushing.

These contractions also call false labor are something that is called sporadic uterine contractions. These, although starting as early as six weeks won’t be noticeable until mid to late pregnancy.

Their name “Braxton-Hicks” comes from an English physician named John Braxton Hicks. Although these contractions though most are none painful are thought to be harmless, you should always write them down and talk to your doctor or midwife about them.

What do Braxton Hicks contractions feel like?

The contractions of Braxton-Hicks are usually not as painful as those of real contractions. Some women describe them as a feeling of breathlessness of the lower abdomen. They can feel for some women. The belly can feel firm. They do not happen at regular intervals.

How to identify the contractions of Braxton Hicks

Almost all women experience these contractions, although they remain unnoticed until you have spent 20 weeks. Braxton Hicks’ contractions can be recognized quickly because they usually do not cause pain and stop if you change position or change the activity you contracted when the contractions happened. These contractions do not follow a fixed style or at regular intervals, and the range does not decrease with each contraction.

The signs and symptoms of Braxton Hicks contractions

Some pregnant women experience Braxton Hicks contractions during the second trimester. When this happens, the contractions do not occur regularly, and most women do not notice them.

Perception of false contractions does not worsen in time and do not come closer together. They can even decrease or disappear when you move or change your body position.

Braxton Hicks contractions can cause an uncomfortable feeling of constriction, but they are usually not as painful as reality or the real contractions of work. Sometimes women in Braxton-Hicks believe that they represent work and that they experience a “false alarm” as a result of these symptoms.

Real labor contractions usually start after the 37th week of pregnancy, except in the case of early or early delivery. They are a sign that the birth begins, they occur at regular intervals and become stronger (more intense and painful) and become closer together over time.

Labor contractions are frequent during the planned start of birth, as a preparation for the birth of your baby. You may also have other signs of labor, such as water breakage, the passage of the vaginal mucus plug and/or “bloody show” when the mucus plug has been tinged with blood.

Braxton-Hicks Contractions vs. Real Contractions

Late in pregnancy, many women confuse Braxton Hicks contractions with the real thing, but there are ways to tell the two events apart:

  • Braxton Hicks are usually more infrequent or less regular than labor contractions.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions are short (20-30 seconds) or overly long (90 seconds to 2 minutes).
  • Braxton Hicks contractions do not progress and become consistent.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions feel “different” than labor contractions and many women intuitively recognize the difference.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions won’t ultimately lead to delivery.

Related: EARLY SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LABOR

When Should You See A Doctor?

Typically if you didn’t get to 37 weeks pregnant yet, you should see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Rhythmic, painful contractions that are regular and can be timed.
  • Bleeding or discharge.
  • A sudden increase in pressure of the pelvis or back pain.
  • Unusual pains.
  • Lack of fetal movement in the last trimester.
  • Water breaking.

In conclusion

Remember that it is best to be safe than sorry. What’s worse, delivering your baby on your new leather sofa or wasting a couple of hours at the hospital? Therefore you better consult with your doctor about any unusual thing that occurs and check it out.


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