So, you’re definitely getting to the pointy end of your pregnancy. You no longer look like you’ve eaten just a few too many meat pies and random strangers feel it’s their right to rub your belly like a lucky Buddha. But as you approach your 28th week, or earlier for some women, your gorgeous little belly may start to tighten at times, feeling like a band around your waistline. These practise contractions, or Braxton Hicks, are your body’s way of preparing for labour and become more frequent and noticeable as your pregnancy progresses.
What Triggers Braxton Hicks Contractions?
- physical activity or exertion
- sexual intercourse
- touching your abdomen
- your baby moving inside your uterus
- a full bladder
What is the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions?
- Unlike real labour pains, Braxton Hicks won’t increase in intensity or frequency, usually subsiding on their own. Moving around or changing position will more than likely stop your BH contraction.
- Braxton Hicks contractions tend to be irregular and real labour pains will have a definite pattern, whether they be 20 minutes or 2 minutes apart
- Braxton Hicks contractions are not as painful as real labour pains, or as long
What To Do If Your BH contractions are making you uncomfortable
BH contractions are typically not painful, but some women find them to be uncomfortable towards the end of their pregnancy. If your BH contractions are really bothering you, try these tips to ease the discomfort (lord knows you need some relief about now!).
- Changing position or moving around will usually cause the BH contraction to subside. If you are standing up, try and lay down on your left side, or get up and move around if you are already laying down.
- Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine
- Don’t hold off on urinating
- Practise your rhythmic breathing
- A warm bath (and possibly a full body massage, mani/pedi and facial! We wish!)
Keep in mind that before 37 weeks, any contractions that increase in intensity and frequency or become painful must be reported immediately to your OBGyn or midwife. Past the 37 week mark, see our posts on When to Contact the Maternity Ward and When To Go To The Hospital.
If you become concerned about any symptoms please seek immediate medical attention we have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/
SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.