Labor Contractions Vs Braxton Hicks

If you`re an expectant mother, you may have heard the terms “labor contractions” and “Braxton Hicks” being thrown around. But what do these terms actually mean? And how do you know the difference between the two?

Let`s start with the basics. Labor contractions are the rhythmic tightening and releasing of your uterus, and they are a sign that you are in active labor. These contractions will increase in intensity and frequency over time, and they will not go away if you change positions or rest.

On the other hand, Braxton Hicks contractions are also known as “practice contractions”. These contractions are the tightening and releasing of your uterus, but in a much less consistent and rhythmic pattern. They`re often described as a tightness or squeezing feeling in your abdomen. They`re typically milder and less intense than labor contractions, and they can be relieved by changing position or resting.

One key difference between the two is that Braxton Hicks contractions are generally not painful. In fact, some women may not even notice them at all. In contrast, labor contractions can be quite painful and are often described as feeling like menstrual cramps that increase in intensity.

So, how do you know if you`re experiencing labor contractions or Braxton Hicks? Here are a few signs to look out for:

– Timing: Labor contractions will be consistent and increase in intensity and frequency over time. Braxton Hicks contractions will be less consistent and may come and go at irregular intervals.

– Pain: As mentioned earlier, labor contractions will be more painful than Braxton Hicks.

– Movement: Changing positions or resting will not relieve labor contractions, while Braxton Hicks may go away with movement or rest.

It`s important to note that while Braxton Hicks contractions are generally harmless, they can sometimes be a sign of preterm labor. If you`re experiencing regular contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy, contact your healthcare provider right away.

In summary, labor contractions are a sign that you`re in active labor, while Braxton Hicks contractions are “practice contractions” that are generally less intense and frequent. Knowing the difference between the two can help you prepare for the arrival of your little one and ensure that you receive the necessary medical attention if needed.