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How would you know if you
are experiencing a false sign and not a positive sign of labor? Normally, a
tightening of the muscles around the stomach can be felt a few months or weeks
before the actual date of delivery. This incident is popularly known as the
Braxton Hicks Contraction.

 

What is exactly this
phenomenon?

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What Is Braxton Hicks
Contraction?

 

Braxton Hicks Contraction
is the term given to the sign of a false labor. It is the intermittent
contraction of the muscles in your uterus that can be mistaken as a sign of
true labor. Normally, Braxton Hicks Contraction start even at the early stages
of pregnancy (unnoticeable) until before the actual date of your delivery.

 

Braxton Hicks Contractions
are a series of intermittent tightening around your belly that would normally
last for about 20 to 30 seconds each contraction. They are irregular–which
makes it the telltale sign that the symptom is not an impending labor
contraction.

 

Why Do Braxton Hicks
Contractions Happen?

 

There are no exact reason
as to why contractions happen in mid-pregnancy. However, experts would normally
explain that this process is to prepare your body for labor and delivery. Among
the factors that trigger Braxton Hicks Contraction are dehydration, activity of
mother and baby, and sometimes, sexual intercourse.

 

Why Do Braxton Hicks
Contractions Happen?

 

Some say that Braxton Hicks
Contractions happen as early as the first trimester of your pregnancy, however,
you are just unlikely to feel it because the size of the uterus is still small.
The most concise time or period that you will start feeling the tightening of
the muscles around your abdomen is about 20 weeks into pregnancy or sometime
during the second trimester. Usually, Braxton Hicks Contractions last up until
the true signs of labor starts.

 

How Does Braxton Hicks
Contractions Feel Like?

 

Braxton Hicks Contraction
feels like muscles are getting tight around your belly. Your abdomen would feel
as if your uterus are beginning to harden due to the contractions. Normally,
Braxton Hicks are not painful but they can get slightly uncomfortable.

 

How Do I Tell if It Is A
Braxton Hicks Contraction Or A Sign Of True Labor?

 

While it can be quite
difficult to discern at first the difference between the two, here are some
unique characteristics of Braxton Hicks against true labor contractions:

 

 

Braxton Hicks

           

•      
The
contractions are normally not painful but the occurrences last longer for about
20 to 30 seconds each.

•      
They are
irregular.

•      
Does not
occur in more than twice per day.

•      
Contractions
can be alleviated by change in position or some minor activity.

True
Labor Pain

 

•      
The
duration is longer.

•      
The
intensity gets stronger as time passes by.

•      
Pain lasts
longer and is not relieved by change in position or walking.

•      
The
contractions get worse with activity or change in position.

 

How Can I Relieve
Braxton Hicks Contraction?

 

Typically, Braxton Hicks
Contraction subsides on their own. However, if they get really uncomfortable
and unbearable, here are some things that you can do to alleviate the
discomfort:

 

•      
Change
your position.

•      
Do some
walking.

•      
Lay down.

•      
Have a
relaxing warm bath.

•      
Massage
the uterus softly to ease discomfort.

•      
Drink some
water as muscles contractions are aggravated by dehydration.

•      
Avoid
sexual intercourse if possible since stress on the reproductive organ can cause
the muscles to tighten.

 

When Should I Call The
Physician?

 

Normally, Braxton Hicks
Contractions are not alarming but that does not mean that you should be
complacent. Keep track of the contractions by writing or jotting it down in a
notebook so you have a baseline data and you can compare them as time passes
by.

 

Be aware when your
contractions has started to increase in intensity and frequency as these could
be a sign of true labor. As mentioned, Braxton Hicks Contractions are irregular
and would last up to 20 to 30 seconds. If you noticed that the contractions
have been happening for more than four times in an hour, this could be a sign
of true labor.

 

It is okay to experience
this if you are already within the week of your due date, but it can be an
emergency situation if you are way behind your expected date of delivery.

 

If you noticed some
abnormalities, it could be a sign of preterm labor and it is best to call your
obstetrician right away for an emergency management.

 

Another symptoms that you
should watch out for are vaginal bleeding and discharge. Normally, Braxton
Hicks Contraction would not cause any bleeding. Any further signs and symptoms
would already initiate an emergency and it is best to contact your primary
healthcare provider right away.

 

 

Braxton Hicks Contractions are normal occurrences
during pregnancy. It is a part of the process and normally do not cause any
harm on the baby and the mother. Through this article, we hope that you get the
information that you need in preparation for your pregnancy and childbirth. It
is always advantageous to stay in the know to keep you and your baby’s health on top.

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