Braxton hicks contractions are painless, intermittent contractions that can happen after the first trimester of pregnancy. They can also be described as a tightening in the abdomen which comes and goes.
It is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy. These contractions are also known as pre labor contractions. Some women do not feel these contractions at all while some have them very frequently.
Some experts feel that these contractions help the body in getting ready for true labor.
There is a lot of difference between Braxton hicks contractions and true labor. Labor contractions are very long as compared to Braxton hicks contractions. Labor contractions are regular and very painful. As the time progresses, labor pain increases in frequency and intensity.
This is not the case with Braxton hicks contractions as they have no rhythm or intensity. So if you find that your contractions are easing up, they are probably Braxton hicks contractions.
Braxton hicks contractions generally start as a result of certain activities. Few of them are:
– Lot of physical activity
– Sexual intercourse
– When you frequently touch your abdomen
– A full bladder
You do not need to do anything if you are having Braxton hicks contractions.
Sometimes if you feel uncomfortable due to these contractions, try to lie down and take rest. You can also take a walk if it helps you. Taking a warm bath and drinking plenty of fluids is another way to ease these contractions. Dehydration often triggers these contractions. Have a glass of water or fresh juice.
Avoid caffeine as it is not good in pregnancy. Try to relax yourself and practice deep breathing exercises. You can use this opportunity to practice some pain management exercises or techniques you have learnt.
You must immediately call your midwife or doctor if Braxton hicks contractions are accompanied by bloody or watery vaginal discharge. If you feel that your contractions are becoming regular and very painful, it may be a sign of premature labor.
You may be in true labor if you feel any of the following:
– More than five contractions in an hour
– Pain in the lower back
– Bleeding or fluid leakage
– Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.