Braxton Hicks – What are they, when are they normal, what do they feel like and how can we ease them?
So you may have read my previous post Orgasmic tightening – where I discussed my recent experience with sex, orgasms & braxton hicks – a lovely mixture. Moving from this I wanted to dig a little more into what Braxton Hicks are and what is classed as “normal”
What are they?
They are often described as practice contractions, basically your body is getting ready for the real thing: LABOUR! 🙂
They are sporadic uterine contractions that start about 6 weeks into your pregnancy, although you won’t be able to feel them that early. You probably won’t start to notice them until sometime in the third trimester.
As our pregnancies progress, Braxton Hicks contractions tend to come more often, but until you get to your last few weeks, they’ll probably remain irregular, and essentially painless. They may be a little uncomfortable you may need to let a little “oooff” but that i perfectly normal.
What do they feel like?
Braxton Hicks can be described as a tightening feeling in your abdomen area that comes and goes, it can also feel like menstrual cramps.
When are they normal?
As I mentioned above they are completely normal after mid pregnancy and although they may be a little uncomfortable they should not be painful. You may get quite a few a day and they may be strong
Typical braxton hicks should follow the below:
- Are usually not painful
- Don’t happen at regular intervals
- Don’t get closer together
- Don’t increase when you walk
- Do not last longer as they go on
- Do not feel stronger over time
Things you can do to ease them:
- Change your activity or position. Sometimes walking provides relief. At other times, resting eases contractions.
- Take a warm bath to help your body relax.
- Try drinking a couple of glasses of water, since these contractions can sometimes be brought on by dehydration.
- Try relaxation exercises or slow, deep breathing. This won’t stop the Braxton Hicks contractions, but it may help you cope with the discomfort.
- Support your abdomen when you stand or roll over. Move more slowly.
When you should call your midwife / doctor:
- If you haven’t reached 37 weeks and your contractions are becoming more frequent, rhythmic, or painful
- Abdominal pain, or more than four contractions in one hour (even if they don’t hurt)
- Any vaginal bleeding or spotting
- An increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of discharge — if it becomes watery, mucusy, or bloody (even if it’s only pink or blood-tinged)
- More pressure in the pelvic area (a feeling that your baby’s pushing down)
- Low back pain, especially if it’s dull or rhythmic, or you didn’t previously have back pain
If you’re past 37 weeks, there’s no need to call your doctor or midwife just for contractions until they last about 60 seconds each and are five minutes apart and continue like this for an hour — unless your caregiver has advised you otherwise.
Obviously I am not an expert & if you have any concerns I would say to call your midwife right away ask their advice they know you, your pregnancy and they are medically trained.
I hope this info helped 🙂