Braxton Hicks or practice contractions are a painless tightening or hardening of your tummy. It some times feels a little uncomfortable, but it’s your uterus’s way of preparing for labor. Braxton Hicks contractions may cause thinning and dilating of your cervix. They normally first appear around 20 weeks, though they may come earlier if this is not your first pregnancy.
As your pregnancy progresses they could become more frequent, but before the last month of your pregnancy they are likely to remain irregular and somewhat painless. If you are not sure if you are experiencing Braxton Hicks or real contractions, speak to your midwife she will help to put your mind at rest. After 37 weeks you could experience more intense and frequent contractions/tightening, which may also cause a little discomfort. These contraction/tightening are likely to be true ones, slow early labor which also helps your cervix ripen, by gradually leading to it’s softening and thinning out.
Braxton Hicks are different from true contractions in that they do not get any stronger or closer together ulike true contractions do. They could make you think you are in labor, as they may feel frequent and painful. If you are not sure whether you are experiencing true or false labor, call your midwife and get checked. You might be connected to a monitor to determine your condition.
If you having any discomfort from Braxton Hicks try changing your position or activity, real contractions will continue regardless of what you try. Draw a warm bath to help your body relax. Drink plenty of water. Use the breathing & relaxation techniques from your Antenatal class.