There are many concerns surrounding pregnancy that to-be-mums have. One of them is labor, and the many facts surrounding it. The truth is that though labor is inevitable in a normal pregnancy, you might just be having false labor symptoms which mirror true labor ones.
Braxton Hicks contractions are commonly mistaken for labor pains. The uterus of a woman is created to carry and nurture a developing baby. During the first trimester of a pregnancy, the uterus usually starts contracting, but these contractions are painless and quite irregular. Most women might not even be aware when the contractions occur.
This phenomenon was first discovered by J. Braxton Hicks, and hence the name. These particular contractions are known to help strengthen the uterine muscles to get them ready for the actual labor process. Braxton Hicks contractions don’t normally induce the opening of the cervix, which is needed to deliver the baby.
Symptoms Of Braxton Hicks Contractions
The symptoms of Braxton Hicks contractions usually start within 16 weeks of being pregnant but you may only start getting aware of the tightening sensations as your uterus gets bigger. Some women feel the symptoms of these contractions more than other women. The most common symptoms felt are:
- Discomfort in the centre of the belly.
- Tightening in the uterus.
- Pain that might start in the center of the abdomen but radiate downwards.
There are, however certain factors that do bring on Braxton Hicks contractions like sexual intercourse, dehydration, strenuous physical activity, touching the abdomen often and your baby moving in the uterus.
How To Get Rid Of Braxton Hicks Contractions?
While the causes of Braxton Hicks contractions are not known, you can do some things to prevent and stop it from happening:
- Hydration – drink plenty of water. This should be irrespective of the contractions.
- Position – changing your position might help relieve you of your contractions. Lie on your left side, this helps to keep you rested and get rid of the pain.
- Breathing techniques – practice rhythmic breathing to help relieve discomfort.
- Urinate – don’t hold in your urine. Go as and when you feel the need to urinate. A full bladder can sometimes bring on Braxton Hicks contractions.
Braxton Hicks Contractions Vs Labor Contractions
Pregnant women are most often confused on how to identify false labor from actual labor. Some things that you can keep in mind are:
- Braxton Hicks contractions don’t increase in intensity like normal labor contractions do.
- False labor pains don’t increase with time; they just eventually go away, while actual labor pains will increase with passing time.
- Braxton Hicks contractions are much less painful than normal labor pains.
- Normal labor pain and contractions are regular and increase with time. Braxton Hicks contractions on the other hand are irregular.
- Symptoms During Pregnancy