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Braxton Hicks - What exactly is it?

Braxton Hicks contractions, named after the British physician John Braxton Hicks who first described them, are intermittent contractions of the uterus that occur during pregnancy. Here's everything you need to know about Braxton Hicks contractions:

Nature of Contractions: Braxton Hicks contractions are often described as "practice contractions" or "false labor." They are intermittent, irregular, and painless contractions of the uterus. They are usually felt as a tightening or hardening of the abdomen, similar to the sensation of a muscle cramp.

Timing and Frequency: Braxton Hicks contractions can start as early as the second trimester, but they are most commonly felt during the third trimester of pregnancy. They tend to increase in frequency as the pregnancy progresses. It is normal to experience several episodes of Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the day, but they should not occur at regular intervals or increase in intensity.

Differentiation from True Labor: Braxton Hicks contractions are different from true labor contractions. True labor contractions are regular, increase in frequency and intensity over time, and are typically accompanied by other signs of labor, such as the rupture of the amniotic sac, the release of mucus plug, and the onset of progressive cervical dilation and effacement.

Causes and Triggers: The exact cause of Braxton Hicks contractions is not fully understood, but there are several factors that can trigger their occurrence. These triggers include dehydration, physical activity, sexual intercourse, a full bladder, and certain positions that put pressure on the uterus.

Alleviating Factors: Braxton Hicks contractions usually resolve on their own and do not require any specific treatment. However, certain measures can help alleviate discomfort or reduce the frequency of contractions. These include changing positions, drinking water or fluids to stay hydrated, emptying the bladder, and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or taking a warm bath.

Remember, every pregnancy is unique, and if you have any concerns or questions about your contractions, it's always best to consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance.

If you have any questions / comments about this topic please feel free to reach out to discuss further.



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