Braxton Hicks Contractions
The term braxton hicks originated in 1872 from an English doctor named John Braxton Hicks . He described the contractions which occur before real labor. Braxton hicks contractions can begin as early as the second trimester even though they usually occur in the third trimester. During this type of contractions, the muscles of the uterus tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds but it may last as long as 2 minutes. Braxton hicks is also known as “practice contractions”. This is because they help you prepare for real labor and gives you the chance to practice breathing exercises taught in child-birth classes.
How do I know I have Braxton contractions ?
Braxton contraction have the following characteristics :
- does not happen at regular intervals
- not frequent
- does not increase in intensity or frequency
- usually not painful
- taper off and then disappear
If you are experiencing contractions that are easing up, they are more likely to be Braxton hicks contractions.
What causes Braxton hicks contractions ?
This type of contraction is believed to play a part in toning the uterine muscle and promoting the flow of blood to the placenta. They are also believed to have an impact on softening of the cervix. When Braxton hicks intensify closer to time of delivery, it is known as false labor. This helps in the dilation and effacement process.
What triggers Braxton hicks contractions ?
The following can trigger this type of contractions:
- full bladder
- when someone touches the pregnant mothers belly
- after sex
- when baby or mother is active
How can I deal with Braxton hicks ?
These tips may help alleviate Braxton hicks contractions.
- try changing your positions or activities. Lying on your side may help. You can also stand or walk if you’ve been sitting for a long time
- drink a couple of glasses of water
- take a warm bath
- dink a warm cup of milk
- get some rest or sleep
- support your abdomen when you stand or roll over
Braxton hicks contractions. American Pregnancy Association. http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/braxton-hicks/. Accessed March 26, 2015
Braxton hicks or true contractions. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/true-false-labor.Accessed April 5, 2015,
Braxton Hicks contractions. Medicine.net. http://www.medicinenet.com/braxton_hicks_contractions/article.htm. Accessed April 5, 2015.