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What are Braxton Hicks Contractions

Nature of Braxton Hicks contractions

The maximum period of pregnancy in human beings is of 9 months. This phase is divided into several phases for the baby’s development. Though the phase of pregnancy is not without a hitch and trouble-free but the most agonizing and intolerable phase is the last stage that contains labor pains and contractions of muscles. But before the actual labor period starts you might have to face labor pains that are called false labor pains. These false pains are commonly known as the Braxton Hicks contractions.

An English doctor introduced the term of Braxton Hicks contractions in 1872 by his name that is John Braxton Hicks. These contractions are dissimilar from the real contractions and are considered as the preparation contractions before the real contractions. These contractions provide a chance to the expected mothers to practice breathing and certain exercises that are meant to reduce the real labor pains.

What do Braxton Hicks feel like

The Braxton Hicks are unpredictable contractions and non rhythmic as well. These contractions are intermittent and occur with irregular intensity. Besides this, these contractions can be a reason of much more discomfort than the pain. But in some cases they can cause pain too. They often feels like as you have a tight band crosswise your abdomen and you feels as your muscles are contracting strangely.

Do Braxton Hicks hurt

The Braxton Hicks contractions are intermittent and often painless contractions that takes place in the uterus muscles of the expected mother in the second trimester but mostly the woman feels these contractions in the third trimester. It causes the tightening of the uterus muscles for around 30 seconds to a minute and in some the tightening of muscles can extend to 2 minutes. Most of the pregnant females get apprehensive thinking that ‘can Braxton Hicks be painful and what do Braxton Hicks feels like?’

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What do Braxton Hicks feel like includes that most of the women don’t feel pains during these contractions instead they just feel like tightening of their abdomen muscles. But some women often feel pain during these contractions that can cause uneasiness. What do Braxton Hicks feels like according to some females is having a feeling of mild and gentle cramps sometimes and they might also feel pain in their thighs and on the sides of back. The Braxton Hicks contractions can play a vital role by toning the muscles of uterus and in turn increases the blood flow to the placenta. Moreover they can help the dilation and labor process.

The Braxton Hicks symptoms

The Braxton Hicks symptoms are in some cases puzzling and indentifying. Firstly there is no exact time for these contractions but usually they begin by the third trimester. These contractions are usually felt during walking and doing some physical work.

The most prominent symptoms of Braxton Hicks include the tightening of stomach muscles which is often not painful; you might feel pain and gets uncomfortable. Moreover in some cases the pain turns to be so severe that you might think that it is labor contraction and you need to go to hospital. These contractions take 15 to 30 seconds and sometimes it may get longer to 2 minutes. The Hicks contractions takes place more often as your expected date of delivery becomes closer. These contractions can be activated and triggered if the baby or the mother moves actively. Other than this if someone lays a hand on mother’s tummy and because of dehydration these contractions can be triggered. Moreover the Braxton Hicks contractions can be generated if the mother bladder is full and also after sex.

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Braxton Hicks vs labor

Braxton Hicks take place prior to the real labor pains most commonly during the third trimester. Braxton contractions are a very common sign of pregnancy and it is completely a normal case. In case of Braxton contractions the mother often does not feel any kind of pain but just tightening of abdomen takes place where as in labor the mother feels high intensity labor pains that are throbbing and awfully severe that is horrendous. Furthermore the hicks contractions are irregular that can be controlled by changing your position, by taking rest, walking or doing some other light relaxation exercises. Where as in case of labor the mother feels regular contractions after the interval of 30 seconds to around 1 minute and with the time the contractions starts appearing after less time, also the labor contractions are unable to control even after changing position and having rest. In addition to this the Braxton contractions are not much stronger and are bearable while the contractions in labor are tremendously strong and unbearable for the mother. What more is that the false labor that are the hicks contractions takes place in the pelvis or in the abdomen of the mother and on the other hand the contractions in labor starts in the region below the waistline and the pressure increases in the pelvis.

Delores C. West is a compassionate healthcare professional with a focus on women's health and wellness. As a certified nurse-midwife, Delores is dedicated to providing comprehensive care to women throughout their reproductive journey. With a warm and nurturing approach, she empowers her patients to make informed decisions about their health and well-being. Delores's expertise in women's health makes her a trusted resource for individuals seeking personalized and compassionate care. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more about her commitment to women's health and wellness.