Braxton hicks are false contractions that are experienced by pretty much every pregnant women at some point during their pregnancy, they feel like the real thing but they are not, they are simply preparation / a practice run.
What do Braxton Hicks feel like?
Signs that you’re experiencing Braxton Hicks: usually they make you feel uncomfortable, they are not painful. The time intervals between each contraction are irregular (can occur every few minutes.) and can last for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Not every woman will experience them.
The differences: Braxton hicks vs real contractions?
Braxton hicks contractions may feel like an uncomfortable tightening sensation but are not as painful as true labor contractions. Labor contractions come at regular time intervals and get stronger over time. Becoming, closer together, more painful and more intense.
When can you experience Braxton hicks?
You could experience these practice contractions as early as the second trimester, (around 20 weeks pregnant.) However, they are more common in the third trimester.
What causes Braxton hicks contractions?
Triggers include dehydration, fetal movement, and more.
Why are they called Braxton hicks?
They are called Braxton hicks because the English doctor that studied them was called: ‘John Braxton Hicks’.
My experience with these contractions
I went all the way to the hospital thinking that I was in labor. However, I was sent home as it was just Braxton hicks that I was experiencing. I had to come back around 24 hours later when I was experiencing the real thing. I don’t regret going to the hospital beforehand though, at least their I was in safe hands. If I was to ‘not want to waste their time’ I could have stayed at home. Just staying at home, my waters could have broken, and I could have set myself up for an infection or all sorts of complications. My advice to you is that if you are having contractions and you are unsure.
For me when I had these practice contractions, I didn’t know that they weren’t real. This is because I didn’t have them during my first pregnancy. I only experienced it during the first early stages of induction with my second born. From around 30 weeks, I had regular ‘Braxton hicks’. Thinking it was a sign of early labor but it surely wasn’t! These tightenings simply felt as if the baby was sticking its body parts out of my belly for a few seconds. Which as you could imagine, it felt quite uncomfortable. They can take your breath away, but it’s all-natural.
We wish you good luck in your pregnancy and remember if you feel contractions that are uncomfortable, don’t keep it to yourself. Speak up to your midwife, health visitor or professional healthcare provider. If you are approaching your due date, you should make sure you have prepared your hospital bag.