The Ultimate Guide To Braxton Hicks Contractions

You might have heard of Braxton Hicks contractions, but you may not be entirely aware of what exactly they are. Here’s our ultimate guide to Braxton Hicks contractions.


braxton hicks


What Are Braxton Hicks Contractions?


Braxton Hicks contractions are sometimes referred to as false labour pains. Many women can experience them during pregnancy, and you’ll normally feel them during the second and third trimester.


How Do Braxton Hicks Contractions Feel?


Some women have described Braxton Hicks as a tightening in the belly that comes and goes in waves. Others have compared to the feeling of mild period cramps. They can feel uncomfortable, but they don’t open the cervix like labour contractions.

Braxton Hicks contractions don’t really have a regular pattern. They don’t get closer together in the way that true labour contractions do. Braxton Hicks contractions don’t increase in intensity, or time. They will taper off and disappear completely. They’ll often stop when you move positions or go for a walk.

Braxton Hicks contractions are not usually a cause of concern, but you can speak to your GP, midwife, or health care provider if you’re worried.


What Triggers Braxton Hicks Contractions?


There are a few things that can trigger Braxton Hicks contractions. These include:

  • Being dehydrated
  • Having a full bladder
  • Being very active and engaging in sexual intercourse


Differences Between Braxton Hicks Contractions And True Labour Contractions


There are several differences between Braxton Hicks contractions and labour contractions.

Braxton Hicks contractions are usually irregular, and they don’t get closer together. Labour contractions are increasingly longer and come in regular intervals. As labour progresses, they increase in intensity, and the time between each contraction gets closer together.

Braxton Hicks contractions can ease if you walk, rest or change position. Labour contractions can continue regardless of what you do.

Braxton Hicks contractions are usually less intense and then taper off. Labour contractions get stronger and increase over time.


When To Call Your Medical Professional


You may have discussed your pregnancy, any concerns, and your birth plan with your healthcare providers at the beginning of your pregnancy, and during it. However, you may not be sure of what you’re feeling, and you may need some reassurance and advice from your doctor or midwife.

You should always call you doctor or midwife if you experience:

  • Fluid leaks or if your water breaks
  • Contractions that are strong and come every 5 minutes, lasting 30-60 seconds each time
  • Changes in your baby’s movement
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Contractions that become very painful


Treating Braxton Hicks Contractions


While Braxton Hicks contractions aren’t usually painful, they give you some discomfort. These tips may help:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Go for a short walk
  • If you’ve been active, try resting, or having a nap
  • Relax in a warm bath
  • Get a massage