Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy. Braxton Hicks contractions often occur later in pregnancy and can last for several hours. Braxton Hicks contractions often stop when you move or when you relax. Read more about how you recognize Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy.
What does Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy feel like?
Women who are giving birth for the first time can sometimes experience Braxton Hicks contractions but are much more common for mothers who are having their second child. The pain during Braxton Hicks contractions sits far down in the abdomen or lumbar spine and is very reminiscent of menstrual cramps.
Braxton Hicks contractions can start several weeks before it is time for childbirth. Sometimes already around week 30. Not all women feel Braxton Hicks contractions and then the labor pains may be the only sign that it is time. Others feel Braxton Hicks contractions early in pregnancy.
Braxton Hicks contractions
When the body begins to be ready for childbirth, contractions turn into Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions are the body’s way of more practice training before childbirth. You can often have frequent pains that come more regularly and that feel like something painful and unpleasant.
Unlike labor pains, the Braxton Hicks contractions disappear after a while to take a longer break. Braxton Hicks contractions can last from a couple of hours to several days and usually starts some time before it is time for childbirth
What does Braxton Hicks contractions feel like?
When you have Braxton Hicks contractions, the stomach usually becomes hard for a while and then softens again. You often feel it pushing downwards. The pressure can be very hard and perceived as unpleasant, but it is usually not associated with pure pain. The weakest Braxton Hicks contractions are not felt at all and the strongest can feel like aching menstrual cramps. However, the experience is completely individual.
The uterus is a muscle that, in the event of a miscarriage, practices before giving birth by contracting. A Braxton Hicks contraction starts from the top of the uterus and spreads downwards. In the case of Braxton Hicks contractions, the pain is irregular, the intensity does not change, they come at ever shorter intervals and they do not last that long.
Pain can sometimes hurt and it is then difficult to distinguish them from labor pains. If you are at the end of the pregnancy and feel insecure, you should always call or consult your doctor or midwife.
Braxton Hicks contractions often feel worse towards the evening, especially if you are stressed. It is also common for the Braxton Hicks contractions to feel more when constipated. Normally it is not dangerous, but a signal that you should calm down, both in your personal life and at work. Braxton Hicks contractions are more common for women who already have given birth than for first-time mothers.
Braxton Hicks contractions are a natural part of pregnancy and important for childbirth to begin. There are some indications that labor can stop if you try to relieve the contractions. If they are not very painful, then you should think about how timely it feels to have Braxton Hicks contractions before trying to relieve them.
- Rest and try to sleep.
- Take a hot bath or hot shower.
- Take a painkiller with paracetamol.
- Use a warm wheat pillow to relax and get relief.
- Relaxation and breathing exercises can help relieve the pain (e.g. prophylaxis).
- Eat or drink energy-rich food and beverages.
When should I contact healthcare in case of Braxton Hicks contractions?
It can be difficult to distinguish between normal and abnormal contractions. One rule is that if they become more regular or if you start bleeding at the same time, you should immediately contact healthcare services. If they become very painful or if you feel insecure, you can always call your doctor or midwife for advice.