Whether you are pregnant with your first, second or fifth baby, Braxton Hicks contractions are something you are going to experience before the end of your pregnancy. It can be scary to experience them if you are unaware of what is happening to your body. Continue reading to learn about Braxton Hicks contractions to ease the stress when it happens to you.
Braxton Hicks contractions begin to occur as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. Oftentimes, you will not begin to feel that they are even occurring until you are closer to five months along. Some women will not even feel them occurring until they are very close to their due date. These contractions are not able to be timed and will not last very long. They are most likely painless and only noticed by the tightening and hardening of the lower abdomen. As your pregnancy progresses, you will notice them more and more. The final month of your pregnancy, you will have them quite frequently.
Braxton Hicks contractions are not doing anything other than preparing your body for the real contractions it will go through when you are in true labor. Many women mistake the Braxton Hicks contractions with real contractions. Real contractions will cause the cervix to “ripen” and prepare for labor.
As your due date approaches, Braxton Hicks contractions may become more regular, painful and even fool you into thinking you are in labor. You can tell the difference between the two kinds of contractions because real contractions will grow stronger, longer, more painful and closer together, whereas Braxton Hicks will not.
If you are experiencing Braxton Hicks and are becoming uncomfortable, you may need to either rest or walk. Each woman’s body is different. Some women say that walking triggers their Braxton Hicks while others find relief from it. You could also try a warm bath, relaxation exercises and drinking plenty of water. Dehydration could trigger Braxton Hicks, so if you begin to feel them coming on, drink a couple glasses of water.
It is time to call your doctor if you are experiencing period like cramping, stomach pain or have had more than four contractions in an hour. Also, watch for vaginal bleeding, change in discharge, pressure in the pelvic area and lower back pain. If you are not thirty-seven weeks along, call your doctor immediately. If you are beyond thirty-seven weeks and are not bleeding, there is no real need to call your doctor. Just ride the contractions out until they are about five minutes apart and last more than sixty seconds. If your hospital is a far distance from your home, you may not want to wait too long to get moving.
Make sure you have your hospital bag packed by the time you are thirty-two weeks pregnant. There is always the chance of preterm labor, so being prepared will reduce the stress you experience if your Braxton Hicks contractions turn out to be the real deal.
You should now better be able to determine if your body is preparing itself through Braxton Hicks or if it is time to head to your nearest hospital. Use the information learned here to lessen the discomforts and know the difference between the two.