Braxton Hicks contractions: everything you need to know and do in case of false contractions

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Are you having false contractions? Read this to know how to deal with this situation

Health
Mar.18.2021

In the late stages of pregnancy, parents are looking forward to childbirth in order to carry the baby in their arms. Therefore, mothers are waiting for the onset of contractions. As we all know, this is a signal that labor is beginning. But very often women can get confused when labor doesn’t go away after the contractions have been brought on. What is it? How can this be distinguished from normal contractions?

What do Braxton Hicks mean?

Most likely these are Braxton Hicks contractions. Alternatively, they can be called training or false contractions. These contractions do not occur before childbirth, although here, as in real ones, contractions of the muscle tissue of the uterus occur. Usually, when do Braxton Hicks start, the muscles contract and relax, but the neck doesn’t begin to open, as in normal birth.

Distinguishing them from real contractions is usually very easy, especially if there is a doctor nearby. One has only to mark the time of each fight, measuring their duration, as well as the time interval between them.

You might be wondering what do Braxton hicks feel like? They feel the same as normal contractions, so you can’t tell them apart by the amount of pain. Also, at the very beginning, they are very similar to menstrual pain in the lower abdomen. And here the question about do Braxton Hicks contractions hurt disappears. As you understood, yes. Unfortunately, this is a natural process that cannot be avoided. But to help you in this situation, we will present you with several reasons for their occurrence, and also tell you how to relieve pain. If false contractions began in the last week of pregnancy, or even later, the pain may be even more intense.

Braxton Hicks causes

define braxton hicks contractions

Here you need to be careful and make sure that the following factors are rare during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester:

  • Stress, excitement, or sudden emotional swings;
  • Lifting heavy weights or a dumbbell, active physical activity that bring the fetus into active movement;
  • Full bladder;
  • Lack of fluid and simple water in the body;
  • Having sex (it is advisable to stop doing this before 38 weeks, so as not to cause even more discomfort to yourself).

If you notice that you have at least one of the above points, it recommends that you stop doing so as not to harm the baby inside you and to facilitate the process of his birth.

When do false contractions start?

This is a very individual question. For some women, training contractions may begin in the third trimester, and even in the week when you are due to give birth. But for others, these contractions can occur as early as the second trimester. This can happen if this is your first pregnancy.

Usually, if contractions started in the second trimester, they are mild enough. They can occur immediately after physical exertion and sports, or after sex, but they cannot spontaneously arise. There will definitely be a reason for their appearance. They usually don’t last very long. But if you have them lasting long enough, or even have strange vaginal discharge, you should immediately contact your gynecologist or obstetrician.

Symptoms of training contractions

Information on how to define Braxton Hicks contractions will be very helpful. It will be especially important if there is no doctor nearby who can control it. Therefore, be careful if you notice this:

  • An active contraction of muscles began in the uterus, in the lower abdomen, and in the groin;
  • The contractions will take place irregularly. In other words, they will have different durations, periods between them. For example, they can be no more than 5-6 times per hour;
  • In the third trimester, they can start spontaneously and cannot be predicted;
  • There may not be any pain, but special discomfort in the lower abdomen will be present;
  • They can gradually reduce their intensity until they disappear completely.

How to stop Braxton Hicks?

braxton hicks causes

Now that we already know enough information, we can analyze with you how to relieve Braxton Hicks contractions. But let’s say right away that you can’t completely stop them on your own, no matter how hard you try. There are several ways to reduce pain:

  • drink a glass of plain water without gases;
  • change your posture (if you changed it, but it still hurts, keeps changing it);
  • go to the shower or bathroom (the water should be warm, but not too hot or cold);
  • go for a walk or just get some air on the balcony;
  • do breathing exercises;
  • turn on a relaxing melody or do a meditation (it may be difficult because you will be constantly distracted by pain, but if you succeed – great).

Also, false contractions are a great way to practice yourself and your breathing before real labor pains occur:

  1. Frequent and rapid breathing. Sighs should be shallow (by the way, this is very similar to the breathing of dogs). It is worth noting that the duration of such breathing should not exceed 200-220 seconds, otherwise you may have dizziness.
  2. Slow breathing. Here you need to breathe in slowly when the contraction begins, and also exhale deeply. When the contraction is over, repeat a slow and deep breath in/out.
  3. Nose/mouth. You inhale slowly through your nose and exhale quickly through your mouth.

We hope this article was helpful to you. Take care of yourself and your child!

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