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Q&A: What are Braxton Hicks contractions?

What are Braxton Hicks contractions? When could they start, and what do they feel like?

Re: What are Braxton Hicks contractions? When could they start, and what do they feel like?

The Bump Expert

Braxton Hicks contractions (name courtesy of the English doctor who first described them in 1872) are relatively painless, irregular, and infrequent contractions that start around week six and lasting until the weeks before delivery. Though they start in the first months, you probably won't feel them until around week 28 (if at all). These contractions are your body's way of practicing and preparing for labor.

The tightness you feel in your uterus during a Braxton Hicks contraction comes from the tensing of the muscles in your uterus. Although they cause more annoyance than pain, drinking water or taking a walk or a warm bath should relieve any discomfort. Mild Braxton Hicks contractions are very common and nothing to worry about, but call your doctor if you're in the first eight months and feel four or more contractions in an hour -- this might be a sign of preterm labor.

watch: more on false labor

Q&A: What are Braxton Hicks contractions?

One thing not mentioned here is if you've had children before, successive pregnancies tend to result in earlier and more uncomfortable Braxton Hicks. This isn't ALWAYS the case, but in my case, I started noticing my Braxton Hicks contractions around 21 weeks this time. They are definitely more uncomfortable and apparently it's because my muscles, tendons and ligaments aren't in the shape they were pre-baby. :)

utchic99 |