Braxton-Hicks vs Labour Pains – How To Tell The Difference

Having pains and not sure if you are experiencing the real thing? Look for these indicators and then call you doctor!

If you are in your third trimester, things are going to start getting uncomfortable now. Your body will start preparing for labour and that can be painful at times. Towards the end of your pregnancy journey, there will be a point when you will feel that this is it and you are going to pop. Hold your horses! This may not be the real deal. This could be a case of false contractions and is referred to as Braxton-Hicks.

What is Braxton-Hicks?

Braxton-Hicks are false contractions and are just an indication that your body is getting ready for actual labour. They give you the false sensation that you are having real contractions.

How Do You Know If It’s Braxton Hicks contractions:

  • Are usually not painful
  • Don’t happen at regular intervals
  • Don’t get closer together
  • May stop with a change in activity or position
  • Do not last long as they go on
  • Do not feel stronger over time
  • only cause discomfort in the front of the abdomen.

Braxton-Hicks contractions do not cause the cervix to expand and do not lead to birth normally.

Real labour contractions on the other hand:

  • Last around 30–70 seconds and occur at regular intervals. 
  • Become more frequent as labour approaches.
  • Are more painful than Braxton-Hicks contractions.
  • Are felt throughout the abdomen and lower back, and the pain can spread to the legs. 
  • Movement does not affect real contractions.

What Can You Do To Ease Braxton-Hicks Contractions?

If you’re having Braxton Hicks contractions, you really don’t need to do anything. If they’re making you uncomfortable:

  • Take a walk. False labour contractions often stop when you change position or get up and move.
  • If you’ve been active, get some sleep or rest.
  • Relax by taking a warm bath or by listening to music.
  • Get a massage.

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Your doctor will explain about Braxton-Hicks contractions to you.  These kind of contractions are not a cause for alarm. However, if you are not sure and are uncomfortable, please call your doctor immediately. It is better to get their expert opinion first.

How Do I Know I Have Gone Into Labour?

The feeling of a true contraction has been described as a wave. The pain starts low, rises until it peaks, and finally ebbs away. If you touch your abdomen, it feels hard during a contraction. The pain at regular intervals, your water breaking and in some cases vaginal bleeding are indications you should watch for towards the end of your third trimester. You should call your doctor immediately.

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