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Braxton Hicks Contractions: What To Do If You Have Them

You have probably heard of the Braxton Hicks. They are contractions, and they represent the way in which your body is preparing for labour. If you have them, it does not necessarily mean that your labour has started. Here is all you need to know about Braxton Hicks.

According to the womb contracts and relaxes – that’s what Braxton Hicks is in a nutshell. They are also known as false labour pains. Not all pregnant women have them, and if they do, they feel them during the second or the third trimester. They are normal, and many women go through them during their pregnancies.

They are a bit uncomfortable, we must confess. But the good part is that they are not painful. They feel like mild menstrual cramps or like a tightening around your stomach.

Reasons and Triggers

We don’t know why women get the Braxton Hicks, but there are some clear triggers. The main ones are included in the following list: not drinking enough water, having intercourse, working out or doing tiring activities, or having a full bladder.

Braxton Hicks versus actual labour contractions

The Braxton Hicks contractions usually:

  • vary in strength and length
  • they don’t increase in frequency, duration, or intensity
  • happen infrequently
  • are unpredictable
  • are not painful, but you do feel a bit uncomfortable
  • appear, then disappear, then appear again sometime in the future

The actual labour contractions are usually more painful and last longer, are frequent and they increase in intensity.

Braxton Hicks will form a pattern near the end of your pregnancy. Many women mistake Braxton Hicks for the start of the labour.

What to do

No, there is no treatment for them. But you can:

  • Change your position
  • Lay down if you’ve been active
  • Go for a walk
  • Take a warm bath, or have a massage
  • Drink water to hydrate yourself.
Mary J. Payne
Mary has over 10 years of experience as a journalist. She loves to travel and write about her experiences, but she also covers topics such as education, career advice and finances.