- Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular contractions and relaxation of the uterine muscle.
- Sometimes, they are referred to as "false labour" pains.
- Usually, pregnant women start experiencing these contractions from the second or most commonly in the third trimester of the pregnancy.
- Braxton Hicks contractions are the body's way of preparing for true labour; however, they do not indicate that labour has started or is going to start.
- These contractions are a normal part of pregnancy.
- They may be uncomfortable, but they are not painful.
They are described as
- Feeling like mild menstrual cramps or
- A tightening in a specific area of the abdomen that comes and goes
They can be differentiated from the contractions of true labour by means of the following characteristics:
- Irregular in duration and intensity
- Occur infrequently,
- Unpredictable and non-rhythmic
- More uncomfortable than painful
- Do not increase in frequency, duration or intensity
- Lessen and then disappear, only to reappear at some time in the future
They tend to increase in frequency and intensity near the end of the pregnancy. Women sometimes have mistaken Braxton; Hicks contractions for true labour.
What are the common triggers of Braxton Hicks contractions?
The following are triggers of Braxton Hicks:
- When the mother is very active
- When the bladder is full
- After sex
What can you do to alleviate Braxton Hicks contractions?
- Change position or activity level
- If you are very active, lie down
- If you have been sitting for an extended time, go for a walk
- Relax: take a warm bath, get a massage, read a book, listen to music, or take a nap
- Drink water to rehydrate
Raines DA, Cooper DB. Braxton Hicks Contractions. [Updated 2019 Nov 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470546/