Braxton Hicks contractions got their name way back in 1872. An English doctor by the name of John Braxton Hicks termed the contractions that women experience before going into actual labor.
They are labeled as labor practice
Braxton Hicks contractions will appear as early as the second trimester of your pregnancy. But, they are most commonly noticed in your third trimester. They are called labor practice because your uterine muscles will tighten up for sometimes 2 minutes before they relax again.
The causes of Braxton Hicks contractions
Medical professionals are not completely sure what exactly does cause these contractions, but, they all agree that they are important for toning the muscles of your uterus and keeping the blood flowing to your placenta. The Braxton Hicks contractions are not associated with the dilation of the cervix during labor, but are said to play a part in softening the cervix.
Situations that bring about Braxton Hicks contractions
- Either your baby or you have been quite active
- When your belly is being touched by someone
- When there is fullness in your bladder
- After you have had sexual intercours
- If you become dehydrated
Stopping the Braxton Hicks contractions
- Change body positions
- If you are sitting down, get up and go for a walk
- If you have been standing, lay down
- Try a warm bath lasting less than 30 minutes
- Drink some water, since Braxton Hicks contractions can be brought on by dehydration
- Drink some herbal tea or a glass of milk
If you do not feel any relief from these contractions, contact your doctor
The difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor
Below is listed some properties of Braxton Hicks contractions. True labor will be just the opposite of these properties. With Braxton Hicks contractions:
- Your contractions will not get any closer together
- Your contractions will not grow in strength
- Your contractions will only be felt in the front
- Your contractions won't increase in length
- Going for a walk will not benefit your labor
- There will not be a change in the dilation of your cervix
Braxton Hicks contractions are said to be annoying at most, but none the less, they do play an important roll in getting your body ready for labor and delivery of your precious miracle. So hang in there, it won't be long, now.
Once you hold that little angel in your arms, it will be so easy to say that it was all so worth it.