information and symptoms for Braxton-Hicks Contractions
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Q&A About Braxton-Hicks Contractions

Q. What month do Braxton-Hicks contractions begin ?

A. Braxton-Hicks contractions begin at about 6 weeks into pregnancy. However, The sensations of the Braxton-Hicks contractions are usually noticed at about the 28th week. At this time, the abdomen is distending and hormonal changes are causing the initiation of contractions.

Q. What do Braxton-Hicks contractions feel like?

A. Braxton-Hicks contractions are sometimes called false labor. This is because the sensations felt mimic true labor. During Braxton-Hicks contractions, the abdominal wall of the uterus becomes hard and firm. The feeling varies from woman to woman. Usually, the feeling will be low back discomfort or tightness around the abdomen with some painful feelings. The contraction usually lasts from beginning to end for thirty to sixty seconds and then subsides with the abdomen softening and relaxing so there is an ability to press gently into it without discomfort. The contractions may continue for a short time thereafter. Or, they may not return for some time. Each woman experiences Braxton-Hicks contractions differently.

Q. What is the difference between true labor and Braxton-Hicks?

A. Braxton-Hicks Sign or contractions are also called false labor because the signs and symptoms are similar. However, they are further distinguished by the intensity and timing. To compare and contrast the false and true labor is a matter of degree and individual. The most determining factor, of course, is the length of the pregnancy. If the pain of the contractions at any time becomes so severe as to cause concern, medical attention should be sought. Braxton-Hicks contractions are felt early in the pregnancy until the onset of symptoms and signs of true labor. True labor signs are increased pelvic pressure with the contractions and increased back pain that continue and do not subside. Braxton-Hicks contractions are more of an uncomfortable complaint. True labor pain continues to increase and does not stop or dissipate. Walking around and increased water intake as well as changing position can relieve Braxton-Hicks contraction discomfort while no relief with these techniques is gained when a woman is in true labor. Braxton-Hicks contractions go away for a while. True labor pains only end with delivery.

Q. What helps lesson the intensity and pain or discomfort of Braxton-Hicks contractions?

A. Some of the methods reported by many women that have helped to decrease discomfort are deep breathing and relaxation techniques. Meditation and yoga are also said to relieve pain when the position is one of comfort. Imagery helps and as the mind relaxes, so does the body tension. Increasing water intake has been reported to help due to the fact that dehydration increases feelings of pain. Whatever technique seems to work, the practicing of the method used for decreasing discomfort will help to prepare the future mother for labor and delivery.


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