Braxton-Hicks Contractions Explained

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What are Braxton-Hicks contractions?

Braxton-Hicks Contractions Explained

Pregnancy Braxton-Hicks contractions are very common, beginning in your second trimester and increasing during your third trimester. It's unlikely that you'd feel them early in your pregnancy, but it is possible and some women report having had them almost all through their pregnancy.

The difference between Braxton-Hicks and real contractions is that the former are totally painless and irregular, whereas the real thing is usually painful and will continue at regular intervals. The English doctor, John Braxton Hicks, first acknowledged the existence of these contractions in 1872 and since then most women have been able to recognize them when they occur.

If you experience Braxton-Hicks contractions, and not all pregnant women do, you will feel a tightening or hardening at the front of your abdomen, not unlike real contractions. If at any time you feel these contractions intensify or continue at regular intervals, seek medical help immediately. When you get closer to your due date you may notice an increase in Braxton Hicks contractions, but they should still be painless and irregular until labor begins. Nobody knows the reason for these practice contractions, but it is believed to be your body's way of preparing you for the real thing



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