Braxton-Hicks contractions are random, generally painless, and until your pregnancy is coming to a close, infrequent uterine contractions that are your uterus’ way of preparing itself to give birth long before delivery day, like the many rehearsal sessions needed for a play before a smooth opening night. You’ll know you’re having a contraction when you feel your baby bump get harder and tighten.
What causes it?
During the first and second trimesters, some think Braxton-Hicks contractions are your body’s way of implementing a muscle-building regimen for your uterus, and also function to promote blood flow to the placenta. Closer to delivery date, they also help with cervical dilation and effacement. Braxton-Hicks contractions may occur more frequently when you or Baby are particularly active, when you are dehydrated, or following sex.
Although most women’s Braxton-Hicks contractions are not particularly painful, they could cause significant discomfort in some moms-to-be. Drinking water, taking a hot bath, or changing positions if the one you are in seems to encourage your contractions could help you manage them. Braxton-Hicks contractions are not usually dangerous, but you should seek medical help if you are having regular contractions 10 minutes apart, contractions that are worsening in frequency or severity.
Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Signs of labor: know what to expect.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 7/18/2013. Web.