What are Braxton Hicks?
You are all set for your due-day, which is a few weeks away. Suddenly you experience pain that subsides on its own. Does this sound familiar? This is called Braxton Hicks or false labor.
Braxton Hicks is a way your body prepares for delivery. It occurs regularly during pregnancy and can be mistaken for actual labour pain. It is a very common phenomenon and gives you an idea about the real pain that you experience during labor.
What Is The Cause Of Braxton Hicks Contraction?
The main cause of Braxton Hicks contraction is the tightening and loosening of the uterus muscles. Though it can happen anytime during the second and third trimester, the frequency will increase once you approach the due date.
The chances of having a Braxton Hicks contraction is more when you are
- Dehydrated or overhydrated
- Standing on your feet.
- Experiencing a lot of stress.
- Sick and experience nausea.
- Close to your due date.
If you are close to your due date and the contraction becomes more frequent and painful, you could be in actual labor.
What Are The Differences Between Braxton Hicks Contraction And Real Labor Pain?
Most women feel the contraction as a tightening of the belly. But unlike real labor pain, Braxton Hicks contraction is not painful. But it does give a very uncomfortable feeling. The following are the major differences between real and false labor pain.
The pattern of occurrence
A real labor pain occurs at a regular pattern. Initially, the contraction happens a few minutes apart and as the labor progresses the time gets reduced. But there is no fixed pattern for false labor. It can happen at any time.
True labor pain lasts for a long time and eventually progresses to dilation of the cervix. But a false labor pain does not last for long. After some time, it stops.
There are certain activities that can trigger a false labor pain, like standing for long or being dehydrated. Once you change the position or drink some water, the contraction stops. A real labor pain does not have any triggering factor. It occurs naturally.
Area of pain
The real labor pain starts from your back and slowly progresses to your abdomen. But a false labor pain is felt only on your belly.
When Should You Call The Doctor?
As discussed earlier, Braxton Hicks contraction is normal. But if you experience any of the below symptoms you should call the doctor immediately.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Fluid coming out of the vagina.
- Severe contraction that you cannot walk.
- Do not sense any movement of the baby.
- Contraction progresses into labor, with pain occurring at regular intervals.
If you are pregnant for the first time, the Braxton Hicks contraction can take you by surprise. Your doctor can advise you on ways to ease the discomfort. Similarly, the doctor can also describe real labor pain that helps you to make out which is false and which is the real pain.