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How to Identify Braxton Hicks Contractions

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The majority of pregnant women will have to deal with Braxton Hicks contractions at some point during their pregnancy. These contractions, sometimes referred to as “false labor,” are most often felt during the second and third trimesters.

To identify Braxton Hicks contractions, here’s what you should look for.

 

How to Identify Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks Contractions

1. Take note if there’s a pattern in your contractions.

Braxton Hicks contractions are unpredictable with no regular pattern, unlike the contractions of labor.

 

2. Pay attention to the intensity of the contractions.

Braxton Hicks contractions vary in intensity, but over time, they do not always get stronger and more intense. Contractions of regular labor tend to increase in intensity with time.

 

3. See if you feel pain associated with your contractions.

With Braxton Hicks contractions, many women just complain that the contractions are uncomfortable, but not painful. In the case of Braxton Hicks contractions, you’ll most often have an uncomfortable sensation on the front of the belly and not all over.

 

4. Feel your stomach with your hands.

During a Braxton Hicks contraction, the stomach may feel tight and hard due to the muscles of the uterus contracting. Sometimes, you’ll feel this tightness without even placing your hands on your belly.

 

5. Change your position.

Braxton Hicks contractions will often go away or change in intensity if you change your position. For example, if you are walking around and think you are having a Braxton Hicks contraction, try sitting down.

If the contraction goes away, likely your contractions were Braxton Hicks contractions and not those of true labor.

 

6. Wait and see if the contractions go away.

Contractions that go away as time passes are likely Braxton Hicks contractions. If the contractions don’t go away with time or get stronger or more frequent, they are probably not Braxton Hicks contractions and are contractions of true labor.

 

7. Allow your doctor to perform a check of your cervix.

Braxton Hicks contractions do not dilate the cervix in most cases. If your doctor finds that there is no cervical change, your contractions will be considered Braxton Hicks contractions, or “practice labor.”

 

Tips & Warnings

  • The information in this article is not meant to serve as a substitute for regular medical advice and care. If you have questions or concerns relating to your pregnancy, contact your personal doctor.

 

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