What is Braxton Hicks/false labor?
Braxton Hicks contractions, sometimes called ‘false labor,’ are a normal part of pregnancy. These contractions happen now and then in the uterus while you’re pregnant. They’re like practice contractions for when you give birth. It happens when the muscles of the uterus tighten momentarily and then they relax. This is happening because your body is preparing your uterus for stronger contractions or when true labor come
Unlike real labor pains, Braxton Hicks contractions are not regular and usually don’t hurt much. They help your body get ready for labor by slowly opening up the cervix.
Why it happens?
In some women it happens in the 1st trimester, but you don’t feel the contraction painful. In some it happens in second and third trimester, which will be later in the day not the first thing in the morning.
The things that can trigger the contraction
• If your active during pregnancy like working out (working out in pregnancy is not recommended if you are having a risky pregnancy).
• Having an intercourse
• The stress you are having can trigger Braxton hicks
• Main and most importantly dehydration.
Differentiating Braxton Hicks from True Labor
It is very important to understand the difference between true labor and Braxton hicks
•Contraction Regularity: Braxton-Hicks contractions are irregular, while true labor contractions follow a consistent pattern, increasing in frequency and intensity over time
•Pain intensity: Braxton Hicks contractions are usually mild and painless, resembling a tightening sensation. Conversely, authentic labor contractions bring about increasingly intense pain.
•Physical movement Influence: Braxton Hicks contractions often subside with a change in activity or position, such as walking or resting. Genuine labor contractions persist regardless of movement.
•Cervical changes: Braxton Hicks contractions don’t lead to cervical dilation, unlike actual labor contractions that result in progressive cervical opening.
When to Consider a Medical Consultation?
• Unusual pain or discomfort: If you experience severe or prolonged pain, unusual discharge, or bleeding along with contractions, seeking medical attention is prudent.
• Preterm Labor Risk: Pregnant individuals at risk of preterm labor due to medical history or other factors should promptly consult a healthcare provider if they suspect Braxton Hicks contractions.
• Uncertainty: When uncertain about the nature of contractions or worried about any pregnancy-related symptom, reaching out to a doctor can provide reassurance and guidance.
• Changes in fetal movement: In case of reduced fetal movements accompanied by Braxton Hicks contractions, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional promptly.
How to get relief
• Change Positions: Sometimes a change in position can help relieve Braxton Hicks contractions. If you’ve been standing, try sitting down or lying on your side. If you’ve been sitting, stand up and move around a bit.
• Hydrate: Dehydration can sometimes contribute to Braxton Hicks contractions. Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated.
• Empty Bladder: A full bladder can put extra pressure on your uterus, potentially triggering contractions. Make sure you’re emptying your bladder regularly.
• Practice Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing, gentle stretches, and relaxation exercises can help reduce stress and tension, which might in turn help alleviate Braxton Hicks contractions.
• Warm Bath or Shower: Taking a warm bath or shower can help relax your muscles and provide some relief.
• Change Activities: Sometimes certain activities can trigger or exacerbate Braxton Hicks contractions. If you’ve been active, try resting and vice versa.
• Massage: Gentle massages on your abdomen or lower back might help ease the discomfort.
• Prenatal Yoga: Some women find that gentle prenatal yoga or stretching exercises can help reduce the frequency and intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions.
• Pelvic Tilts: Pelvic tilts involve tilting your pelvis forward and backward while on your hands and knees. This can help relieve pressure and discomfort.
• Medical Evaluation: While Braxton Hicks contractions are generally not a cause for concern, if you experience any unusual or severe symptoms along with the contractions (such as bleeding, strong pain, or changes in vaginal discharge), it’s important to contact your healthcare provider.
Braxton Hicks contractions are a normal part of pregnancy, representing your body’s preparation for childbirth. Distinguishing them from true labor contractions empowers you to make informed decisions. While Braxton Hicks are generally harmless, any concerns or alarming symptoms warrant consultation with a medical expert. Prioritize your well-being and the health of your baby by staying attuned to your body and seeking guidance when necessary. Remain mindful and aware of your body’s signals. Communicate with your doctor if you are uncertain about any changes or feel discomfort. Taking proactive steps can lead to a healthier, smoother pregnancy.