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Braxton Hicks

Braxton Hicks

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The majority of pregnant women experience  Braxton Hicks contractions during different stages of pregnancy. Braxton Hicks contractions are a tightening in the muscles of the uterus. but they do not cause the cervix to open and are not real labor contractions. They are commonly called "practice contractions" or "false labor" as they help your uterus prepare for the contractions it will experience during labor.

Braxton Hicks contractions tend to be infrequent and irregular, where real labor contracts are more consistent and continue.
How do I tell the difference between a Braxton Hicks contraction and true labor contractions? A Braxton Hicks contraction might get closer together but not consistently, or they may feel stronger but go away when you move around. True labor contractions will get longer in length, closer in frequency and stronger in intensity as labor progresses.

If you have contractions closer than 12 minutes apart prior to 37 weeks, you should call your provider for advice, as this might indicate preterm labor and not Braxton Hicks contractions.

Braxton Hicks Triggers
It has been proven that some things may trigger Braxton Hicks contractions.

  • Heavy  exercise, especially carrying things
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Dehydration

The difference with Braxton Hicks vs. true labor....
  • Contractions don't last longer
  • Contractions don't get closer together
  • Contractions don't get stronger
  • Walking has no effect on the contractions
  • Cervix doesn't change with contractions


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