Braxton-Hicks contractions occur throughout pregnancy and are
a normal part of the process. Everyone feels the false labor differently
and handles the contractions in differing degrees. A lot has to
do with a person’s perception of pain and the level at which pain
or discomfort becomes difficult to control or becomes unacceptable.
Many women have a high level of pain acceptance. It has been suggested
that this is due to the fact that she will have to endure childbirth.
Childbirth takes a great deal of energy and concentration.
The months before a woman goes into true labor are spent in preparation
for this daunting task. There are many ways to prepare for the
hours of hard work that will produce a wonderful miracle of the
birth of one’s offspring. The two parents help and share the moments
leading to the upcoming event while preparing mentally and physically
for the change in their relationship. Although they cannot be
‘cured’, Braxton-Hicks contractions are manageable. Throughout
the months of pregnancy a woman’s body experiences dramatic changes
, both physically and emotionally. Hormonal changes increase and
decrease and cause fluctuations in usually physically stable organs
and body functions.
The increased weight and stress on the spinal column and balance
are all involved in pregnancy. Many of these aspects of pregnancy
can cause discomfort and in some women, intense pain. Braxton-Hicks
contractions although they are a normal process during pregnancy
can cause distress and loss of energy in a usually active woman.
Although the contractions are self-limiting and do subside within
thirty to sixty seconds, they can be disturbing and unpleasant
while they last. It has been noted that dehydration can increase
the intensity of Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Therefore, increased hydration and especially increasing water
intake is advised during pregnancy. When the Braxton-Hicks contractions
begin and start to increase in intensity, moving or walking around
can decrease the discomfort. If they begin while lying down, turning
on the left side can help to decrease pain. To soften the symptoms
to a slow crescendo try meditation or imagery and choose a comfortable
position before doing any activity such as meditation. Relaxation
techniques have been noted to be very helpful. Deep breathing
and pursed breathing also help. These exercises are also helpful
as they can prepare the pregnant woman for actual labor and delivery.
Practicing these techniques for relaxation and control of physical
discomfort will assist and prepare a woman for the task ahead
of her. The delivery of her baby will be a wonderful moment and
the burden of labor will hold in memory the most miraculous and
important event in a life.