As a soon-to-be mother, it`s natural to be vigilant about every little change your body is going through during pregnancy. One of these changes can be false labor contractions, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions mimic the onset of labor, but they are not true labor pains. Instead, they are your body`s way of preparing for the big day. However, if you are monitoring your contractions and notice that they are coming regularly, it is important to understand what`s going on and take the necessary measures.
What are Braxton Hicks Contractions?
Braxton Hicks contractions are also called false labor pains. They are contractions that occur in your uterus as early as the second trimester but become more noticeable in the third trimester. These contractions are not as intense as true labor contractions and don`t follow a regular pattern. They usually last between 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and they tend to be sporadic in nature. Unlike true labor contractions, Braxton Hicks contractions don`t cause the cervix to dilate or efface. In most cases, they are just a sign that your body is preparing for labor.
Can Braxton Hicks contractions be detected on a monitor?
While Braxton Hicks contractions can be felt by a pregnant woman, they may not be detected on a monitor. The reason for this is that Braxton Hicks contractions don`t cause the cervix to dilate or modify. However, if you are experiencing regular contractions, it is still recommended to monitor them and note the frequency, duration, and intensity. This information can help your healthcare provider determine if you are in preterm labor or if you need additional monitoring.
How can you distinguish between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor?
It`s essential to be able to distinguish between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor. True labor is characterized by the following:
1. Contractions become more regular: As labor progresses, contractions will become more frequent and follow a pattern. This means that the time between contractions will get shorter and shorter.
2. Contractions become more intense: True labor contractions are much more painful than Braxton Hicks contractions.
3. Cervical dilation: As labor progresses, your cervix will begin to dilate and efface, which can be detected by your healthcare provider.
4. Bloody show: As the cervix begins to thin and dilate, a small amount of blood may be released.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is crucial to contact your healthcare provider immediately.
What should you do if you are experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions?
If you are experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, you can try the following measures to ease the discomfort:
1. Change positions: Changing positions can help shift the baby`s weight and relieve pressure on the cervix.
2. Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water can help reduce the frequency and intensity of contractions.
3. Use relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and visualization can help ease the discomfort associated with contractions.
4. Take a warm bath: A warm bath can help relax your muscles and reduce the discomfort associated with contractions.
In summary, Braxton Hicks contractions are a natural part of pregnancy and are not a cause for concern. While they may not be detected on a monitor, it`s essential to note the frequency, duration, and intensity of contractions. If you are experiencing regular contractions that are becoming more intense, it`s crucial to contact your healthcare provider immediately. By staying informed and vigilant, you can ensure a safe and healthy delivery.