Now when you are teeming with the excitement of being pregnant you may experience different happenings at different phases. One of this is Braxtons Hicks contractions. They are also known as false labor, practice contractions or prodromal labor. This chunk of writing facilitates readers to get a more deep understanding of Braxtons Hicks contractions.
What are Braxtons Hicks contractions?
These are random uterine contractions whose frequency significantly increases in last days before real labor. Prior to this period, they are unnoticeable being less frequent and painless. Causing no cervical change, Braxtons hicks towards the end of pregnancy may help in effacement and dilation of the cervix. This period is regarded as pre-labor.
Factors lessening Braxtons Hicks contractions
- Dehydration is one of the leading factors of muscles twitch and spasm. It is also considered as a factor inducing contractions. Keeping enough hydration can suppress Braxtons Hicks considerably
- A rhythmic breathing substantially ease out the discomfort
- The pain can be alleviated by resting down on your left side, lying straight
- Mild stretching or slight change in posture can provide considerable relief
- Sometimes full bladder may cause contraction so emptying it can subside Braxton Hicks contractions
When does Braxton Hicks start?
Initiation and feeling of contractions are two different things. They may start as early as around 6 weeks but it remains unnoticed till second or third trimester.
How may you feel while having Braxtons Hicks contractions?
As you progress towards the end of your pregnancy, these become more prominent. You will be feeling pressure in your lower abdomen, followed by squeezing, tightening and then relaxing of groin and uterus. The muscle tightening duration of uterus stretches between 30-60 seconds to a maximum of 2 minutes. The majority of times they are safe and don’t hurt you but sometimes they may cause discomfort and pain.
Examination by Doctor
Normally no test is required to assess Braxtons Hicks, but if any signs of preterm labor are spotted Dr. might do so. Also, note that these contractions should not be more than 4 contractions/hour. The heartbeat of baby and length of contractions along with duration are monitored. A physical examination can also be carried out to check ripening and softening of the cervix.
Nourishment for baby
The contractions of the uterus are designed by nature to improve blood flow to the placenta. So Braxtons hicks also provide improved nourishment to your baby.
Why are they called as practice contractions?
Nature gives an opportunity to women to practice actual labor via Braxtons Hicks contractions. It provides an opportunity to practice deep inhalation and exhalation that is really fruitful in a real event.
Difference between Braxton Hicks and actual labor
- Braxtons hicks are intermittent and their pattern is unpredictable. However, a rhythmic pattern can be observed when actual labor progresses.
- The intensity of contraction remains more or less at the same level while in real labor intensity kept on increasing.
- Braxton contractions are unorganized, while crampy feeling gets worse in real labor
- If contractions are followed by discharge of mucus plug or breaking of water, don’t confuse preterm labor with false labor. Seeking immediate medical advice is essentially required in such condition.
A quick Recap
- Less frequent
- Varying intensity
- Cause more discomfort than pain (although some women may experience pain)
- Frequency or intensity of these contractions do not increase