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Braxton-Hicks Contractions

Braxton-Hicks contractions are practice contractions of the uterus during pregnancy.

Braxton-Hicks contractions usually are short and inconsistent. Sometimes they involve your whole uterus, but most of the time they are a band of tightening across one area of the uterus.

Braxton-Hicks contractions happen all the time in women and are a very normal part of pregnancy. While they are uncomfortable, they should not be painful. These contractions are similar to the mild cramps associated with having your period.

They are not warning signs for labor and can usually be ignored. The labor signs to watch for, are contractions that are consistent in timing and progressive in their intensity. In short, if you can time them and they’re getting worse, you should call.

According to the National Library of Medicine:

By the midpoint of pregnancy, the woman and provider should discuss what the woman may experience during the remainder of the pregnancy. Braxton-Hicks contractions are one of the normal events a woman may experience. Teaching her about Braxton-Hicks contractions will help her to be informed and to decrease her anxiety if they occur.

There is no medical treatment for Braxton Hicks contractions. However, taking action to change the situation that triggered the Braxton-Hicks contractions is warranted. Some actions to ease Braxton-Hicks contractions include:

  • Changing position or activity level: if the woman has been very active, lie down; if the woman has been sitting for an extended time, go for a walk.

  • Relaxing: take a warm bath, get a massage, read a book, listen to music, or take a nap.

  • Drinking water to rehydrate.

  • If these actions do not lessen the Braxton Hicks contractions or if the contractions continue and are becoming more frequent or more intense, the patient’s healthcare provider should be contacted.

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