Not Real Labor, But Braxton Hicks Contractions Sure Are a Pain!

braxtonAs I enter my third trimester the one complaint I have is the Braxton Hicks contractions I’m experiencing on a regular basis.

While I noticed the “false” labor pains while pregnant with my first two children they weren’t nearly as frequent or intense as the ones I’m experiencing several times a day.

These usually come when I’m being active; picking up toys, making beds, walking fast, and they take my breath away, forcing me to stop whatever I’m doing.

Breath loss aside, I really don’t like how they often make me feel sick to my stomach. According to WebMD, “Some women describe Braxton Hicks contractions as tightening in the abdomen that comes and goes. Many women say they feel like mild menstrual cramps. Unlike true labor, these contractions are usually not painful and do not happen at regular intervals. They do not get closer together, do not increase with walking, do not last longer as they go on, and do not feel stronger over time as they do when you are in true labor.”

Named for John Braxton Hicks, an English doctor who first described them in 1872, Braxton Hicks contractions start as early as 6 weeks, but are usually felt sometime around 20 weeks. Women who have had previous pregnancies may notice them sooner, and some women may not even notice them at all. I’m certainly noticing them, although I wouldn’t call them painful. But they’re certainly a pain! If it wasn’t for them I’d be cruising through this second trimester.

Most doctors advise taking a warm bath, drinking a glass of water, deep breaths, stuff like that is said to help. Still, those are temporary fixes at best because, for me at least, another set of contractions is usually right around the corner.

What about you? What’s your experience with Braxton Hicks contractions? Do yours bother you as much as mine are bothering me this time around?

Image: M. Bielanko

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