Most women have heard about Braxton Hicks Contractions, or they may have even experienced them in the past. If you are a first-time mom, you might be wondering what the heck they are!
Braxton Hicks are basically a dress rehearsal for your body to start pushing your little one out into the world. They feel different for everyone, but the one thing people can agree on, is it is a tightening of your stomach. They generally are not painful, and if you shift positions, or stand, they tend to go away. They also last just a short while (30 seconds or so).
It is easy to confuse Braxton Hicks with real contractions. If you are having real contractions, they are fairly regular and will get stronger as time goes on. They will also last about 30 seconds to a minute, getting closer and closer together. Usually if you shift, you will still be able to feel them too. Think menstrual cramps that get stronger as time goes on. Contractions thin the cervix, where Braxton Hicks are just a trial.
Some other symptoms of real contractions that are not present with Braxton Hicks are:
– Baby “drops” into the pelvis (you thought you had to pee before).
– Cramps and increased back pain
– Loose-feeling joints
– Vaginal discharge changes color and consistency
– Water breaks
Most women will begin to feel these contractions during their third trimester, but some women will begin to feel them as early as their second trimester, especially if this isn’t your first rodeo. 32 weeks is generally when you will start to experience them, but even if you don’t or your not sure if you have, that’s normal. There are some women that never experience them, or don’t know they are having contractions until they are basically giving birth!
Women’s bodies do some crazy, amazing things, especially when it comes to pregnancy and birth. As always, if you have questions regarding symptoms or any issues, please contact your practitioner for medical advice.