Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions are false labor contractions. It is the build up to actual labor contractions. Scroll down to find out the truth behind these 'false' contractions and pain in back.
Okay! So you are a proud mother-to-be of a beautiful, cute and cuddly baby. The happiness and euphoria knows no bounds I am sure! In all this merriment though, do not forget to take good care of yourself! Now that I've mentioned that, have you heard of Braxton Hicks in pregnancy? Let me tell you what it is. It is, in layman's language (or should it be woman's!) a false labor pain. It is actually a build up by the uterus for the d-day.

What Are Braxton Hicks Contractions?
These are the contractions occurring in the uterus, which can cause a woman to think that it is labor pain. But that is not the case. These normally are experienced around the 8th month during a normal pregnancy. They become more frequent and intense as the due date comes closer. As mentioned earlier these are not actual labor contractions, but these are necessary for the uterus to get ready for the final show down. These contractions are sporadic and when they are felt for a longer duration, they seem like the real labor contractions. There are certain ways to affirm if it is labor pain or Braxton Hicks. One of them is that if you change your position, they will subside. Moreover, unlike true contractions, these are weak and never get closer together. But overall these Braxton Hicks cramps during pregnancy are uncomfortable!


Symptom 1
Braxton Hicks contractions feel like tightening cramps in the abdomen. At one moment the abdominal wall becomes as solid as a wall and the next moment it relaxes.

Symptom 2
For those who are not first timers, these are felt much earlier and more intense when it comes to pain. In fact, these can be startling enough to wake the expectant mothers from sleep.

Symptom 3
These are easily differentiated from the true labor contractions. The pain in actual labor begins at the back and then radiates or spreads to the abdomen. Braxton Hicks do not get stronger as the pregnancy progresses. Moreover, the cervix does not change with these contractions, which it does in true labor contractions. Surprisingly, the contractions are felt only in the front, when they are Braxton Hicks, whereas the contractions are felt all over in case of true labor. Finally, true contractions are for a longer duration than Braxton Hicks.

How to Deal with Braxton Hicks
  • The pain caused due to Braxton Hicks contractions can be dealt with or reduced by having a warm drink, tea perhaps.
  • Get up and take a brisk walk in case you were at rest when the contractions started. On the other hand, if you were working and active while you had these contractions, take rest.
  • Take a nice hot bath if the above do not suffice.
Do not wait to speak to the doctor or call him if you have abdominal pain, cramps akin to menstrual cramps, low back pain different from usual pain, increased pelvic region pressure, or vaginal spotting and bleeding.

Do not panic, and don't let these contractions scare you. Take Care!
By Medha Godbole
Published: 2/13/2010
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