Understanding Braxton Hicks Contraction

The Braxton Hicks contraction is known as the contraction that pregnant women may experience before the real labor begins. Sometimes women think that it is labor that they are experiencing only to find out that they only had fake contractions and they still have to wait for the real deal.

Braxton Hicks Contraction

What are the Braxton Hicks contractions?

These contractions usually begin during the second trimester but almost all women experience them during the third trimester. During the contractions the uterus’ muscles contract for about 30-60 seconds and then they relax for a couple of minutes. These are also known as practice contractions.

The good thing about these contractions is that you get to practice the breathing techniques that you learned during the childbirth classes. Women describe the contractions as being irregular in intensity, unpredictable, infrequent, rather uncomfortable and non-rhythmic.

You should also know about the Braxton Hicks contraction that they don’t increase in frequency or intensity and they become weaker and then they disappear entirely. If the contractions that you experience ease up, you can be sure that you have this kind of contractions.

The cause

There are several possible causes of the Braxton Hicks tension. Some of the professionals believe that it is meant to tone the muscles of the uterus and to promote blood flow to the placenta. They aren’t meant to open the cervix, but they might have a role to play in softening it.

Braxton Hicks contractions get more intense as labor draws nearer and this is why women often believe that they are in labor when in fact they are only experiencing these contractions. However, these contractions can help with the effacement and dilation process.


The Braxton Hicks contractions usually appear when the baby or the mother are very active, when someone touches the belly of the mother, if the mother has a full bladder, in case of dehydration and it often occurs after intercourse.

What can you do to make the Braxton Hicks contraction better?

When the symptom appears you should try changing positions. For instance you could lie down if you were standing before. If you were sitting you could go for a short walk. When the contractions appear it could be useful to take a warm bath of 30 minutes or so.

As it has been mentioned before, the false contractions could be triggered by dehydration so it may be helpful to drink some water. A cup of milk or herbal tea could also turn out to be helpful. It is possible that none of these methods offer the desired results. If this is the case, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your health care provider.

As you can see there is nothing to worry about when you experience the Braxton Hicks contraction. This is something normal and you should consider it as training for the real deal. If the contractions don’t disappear after a while, you should talk to your health care provider immediately.


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