Braxton hicks…you’ve probably heard of them? Maybe experienced them? Well let me tell you all about them…
What are Braxton Hicks?
Braxton Hicks are irregular contractions that can happen after the 20 week mark of your pregnancy. They tend to be more noticeable towards the end of pregnancy, but you may also NEVER experience them! Both are totally normal.
If you do experience them, Braxton Hicks are simply your body’s way of having a little practice at contractions before you go into labour (but they don’t dilate your cervix!). They also create oxytocin receptor cells in your uterus, which is all part of preparing your body for the process of labour. So whilst they can feel annoying, it’s just one very clever way of getting you ready for your baby’s birth.
What will they feel like?
Braxton hicks surges will feel like your muscles are tightening or being squeezed across your tummy! They may be uncomfortable, but not usually painful. They may vary in intensity, but should taper off rather than getting progressively stronger.
Signs you may be in labour instead of experiencing Braxton Hicks can include…
- If you experience contractions that follow a pattern, getting stronger, longer and closer together over time
- Your waters breaking (this may be a trickle or a gush!)
- You’re sick or have an upset stomach
When should I contact my midwife?
WHENEVER you want. Your local Midwife Day Unit will also be able to help you with any questions or concerns - any time of day.
How can I feel more comfortable?
Braxton Hicks are more likely to happen when you’re dehydrated, so grab a glass of water and drink up. Changing positions, lying down if you’ve been very active, going for a walk if you’ve been resting, or enjoying a warm bath can also help you feel more comfortable.
Better still, you can use your BabyCare Tens machine to safely help ease those Braxton Hicks sensations!
Want to find out more about the process of labour & techniques on how to have a positive, calm birth experience?
Check out my range of fun, interactive & no nonsense hypnobirthing courses at www.thebirthbase.com
By Kristina Neate
Director of The Birth Base Ltd