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Braxton Hicks Or True Labour

Braxton Hicks Or True Labour

November 11, 2013 - By Mumazine Guest

It can be hard to tell the difference between real contractions and the body's way of preparing itself for when the time comes.

All mums know that they soon forget the worries and stresses that pregnancy can bring when they are holding their little bundle of joy in their arms. But one of the major concerns for mums to be, especially first time mums is how will I know when I’m in true labour?

From mid pregnancy and occasionally earlier you may (not everyone) experience irregular uterine contractions which are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. The cause for these contractions is still in doubt but experts believe that it is a way for the uterus to tone it’s muscles in preparation for labour, while others believe it’s a way of the cervix softening in readiness for the big day.

How Do Braxton Hicks Contractions Differ From True Labour Contraction?

Braxton Hicks or False Labour

  • Contractions are typically not painful, irregular and infrequent and do not get closer together
  • Contractions may stop if you change your position or activity
  • Contractions are usually quite weak and do not increase in strength
  • Usually Braxton Hicks contractions are felt in the front of the pelvic or abdominal region

True Labour

  • Contractions are painful, regular, frequent and as labour progresses get closer together
  • Contractions will continue whether or not you change your position or activity
  • Contractions will increase in strength at a steady rate
  • Typically contractions begin with a dull ache in the lower back area and move onto the front abdominal region

Braxton Hicks contractions can be caused by over activity, a full bladder and dehydration so if they are a little uncomfortable try taking a walk, relaxing in a warm bath, lying down and drinking some water which should ease them.

However,  labour is a very personal experience and can differ for everyone and each pregnancy can be totally different from the last, so if you are experiencing period like cramps, bleeding or any other fluid leakage, lower back pain, pressure in the pelvic region, nausea, diarrhoea and regular contractions – more than 5 in an hour then you are showing the signs of true labour so contact your maternity unit or midwife immediately.

If in any doubt do not hesitate to contact your local health care provider.

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