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What do Braxton Hicks contractions feel like?

What do Braxton Hicks contractions feel like?

Braxton Hicks contractions are spasmodic contractions and relaxations of the uterine muscle. They are also known as false labour . They are perceived to begin on the 6th week of gestation but are not felt at least until the second or third trimester of pregnancy. Braxton Hicks contractions are the contractions of the uterus that help the expectant mother's body prepare for actual labour. They are irregular and often painless. 

As the date of delivery approaches faster, the Braxton Hicks contractions help soften your cervix. Although they are the body's way to prepare for actual labour, they neither indicate the outset of the labour nor its signals. Braxton Hicks contractions form a normal part of the pregnancy. Despite being uncomfortable, women describe them as mild menstrual cramps or a tightened sensation in an abdominal area that comes and goes. 

Some quick facts about Braxton Hicks contractions:

  1. Braxton Hicks contractions occur predominantly during the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
  2. They are less painful than the actual labour.
  3. Braxton Hicks contractions are unpredictable unlike actual labour and do not occur at definite intervals and do not get intensified over time.
  4. Consider changing positions to mitigate the discomforts caused by Braxton Hicks contractions.
  5. Braxton Hicks contractions might not occur regularly or get closer together.
  6. Braxton Hicks contractions neither cause cervical dilatation nor culminate in childbirth.

The causes of Braxton Hicks contractions are as below:

  1. Dehydration
  2. Regularly touched maternal abdomen
  3. Bladder distention
  4. Sexual intercourse
  5. Increase in maternal or foetal activity

Below are the home remedies to help resolve Braxton Hicks contractions:

  1. Take a warm bath for 30 minutes
  2. Eat something
  3. Drink a glass of water or a cup of tea
  4. Change positions as needed 
  5. Take a stroll 
  6. Take rest for a while if you have been physically active

When are the Braxton Hicks contractions a cause of worry?

You should consider calling your doctor  if the frequency of contractions is increasing. If the pain bothers you excessively or if the symptoms are resembling preterm labour. 

Below are the situations to look for if you think Braxton Hicks contractions are a cause of concern for you:

  1. If the contractions exceed an hour
  2. If pain is not releived after the above remedies
  3. Increase in the vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge or spotting

Braxton Hicks contractions occur in all pregnancies. Although each woman's experience is different, most women become aware of Braxton Hicks contractions in the third trimester. The onset of Braxton Hicks contractions near the end of the third trimester of pregnancy gets often mistaken as the actual labour. The management of Braxton Hicks contractions is easy and uncomplicated. 

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