Braxton hicks contractions show up in the third trimester, around the 4th month of pregnancy.
They cause the uterus to tighten on and off keeping it in good tone. They are not painful, and are one of the signs of labor.
During pregnancy, they aid in moving blood to the placenta where it can provide food and oxygen to the baby and take away waste products from the baby.
Braxton hicks contractions are characterized by a uterus that feels hard, more-like your baby is balling up.
These contractions do not hurt
,but they can become uncomfortable towards the end of pregnancy or sometimes present as false labor in the last 3 weeks of pregnancy.
Braxton hicks contractions are also referred to as preparation contractions “false labor” because they soften your cervix, but do not open it very much. They also give you a chance to practice relaxing as your uterus tightens.
Although they can be tiring, you just have to hang in there becausethis is nature’s way of getting things ready for the true contractions that will open the cervix so that baby can be born.
Before the 37th week of pregnancy, any contraction may be a warning sign of false labor. If you get 4 or more of these contractions in an hour, you should report these to your medical practitioner or birthing attendant at your birth center.
In addition, drink four or five glasses of water, if the contractions continue, call your provider again. After the 37th week of pregnancy, there are some differences between true labor contractions and the Braxton-hicks contractions.
In true labor;
- the contraction is regular and rhythmic, say 10 minutes for several hours, then 5 minutes,
- gets longer, stronger and closer together and don’t go away,
- and might get stronger if you walk around,
While as Braxton-hicks contractions;
- the contraction is irregular and has no specific pattern, say the time between contractions may be something like 25 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes.
- sometimes it can be regular but the contraction does not get longer, stronger and closer together and stop after sometime.
- and in most instances, if you change positions or take a warm shower or bath, it will go away
True contractions get longer, stronger and closer together and don’t go away, giving you one of the significant signs of labor.
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