Braxton Hix?

Tara - posted on 02/04/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I am 36 weeks tomorow. With my first pregnancy I thought I was having braxton hicks because it didn't seem so bad, turned out to be the begining of a long labor. With my daughter I went to the hospital with contractions twice in two days before they admited me for delivery. Now I'm having strange cramps, like when a 'charlie horse' climbs up your calf then goes away. The baby moves around in between, so it can't be labor. (?) It seems to happen more when I'm moving about, walking & what-not. Could this be the infamous Braxton Hicks? What's the cause of Braxton hicks anyway?

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Tara - posted on 02/05/2009

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It is posible that I've been too active or dehydrated.  I must confess that it is not from intercourse as it is difficult for two people with big ol' bellies to figure out & I'm too darn tired to care.  LOL!



I looked around on the net and found mostly the same thing everywhere.  This short article was straight to the point and I thought I'd leave it for anyone else who might find the information helpfull.  Moms Rock!  Thanks Ladies!



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You may have heard this funny phrase before you were pregnant, but now you really want to know what it means. It all started in 1872 when an English doctor, John Braxton Hicks, described the contractions that occur before real labor. Can you imagine constantly thinking,"This must be it," and then it wasn't. Doctors and pregnant women have Dr. Hicks to thank for clearing up all the confusion. The following information will help you determine when you are having “the real thing” or Braxton Hicks contractions.



What are Braxton Hicks contractions?



Braxton Hicks contractions can begin as early as the second trimester, however they are most common in the third trimester. The muscles of your uterus tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds or as long as 2 minutes. Braxton Hicks are also called “practice contractions” because they will prepare you for the real thing and you can practice the breathing exercises you are learning in your childbirth classes.



Braxton Hicks are described as:





Irregular in intensity

Infrequent

Unpredictable

Non-rhythmic

More uncomfortable than painful

They do not increase in intensity, or frequency

They taper off and then disappear altogether



If your contractions are easing up in any way, they are most likely Braxton Hicks.



What causes Braxton Hicks contractions?



There are a few speculations for why women have these contractions. Some physicians and midwives think they may play a part in toning the uterine muscle and promoting the flow of blood to the placenta. They are not believed to have any connection with dilating the cervix, but may have some effect on the softening of the cervix. However, as Braxton Hicks contractions become more intense closer to the time of delivery, the contractions are considered , which can help in the dilation and effacement process.



What triggers Braxton Hicks contractions?



The following are triggers of Braxton Hicks:





When you or the baby are very active

If someone touches your belly

When your bladder is full

After sex

Dehydration



What can I do to alleviate Braxton Hicks contractions?





Change positions; lie down if you have been standing or go for a walk if you have been sitting or laying

Take a warm bath for 30 minutes or less

Drink a couple of glasses of water, because contractions may be brought on by dehydration

Drink a warm cup of herbal tea or milk



If doing any of these does not alleviate your contractions, you should contact your health care provider.

Jen - posted on 02/05/2009

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I am a few days beyond my due date and have been having similiar movement..I was told by my doctor that yes, they could be contractions but need to be at those regular intervals where you can time them..A few days ago I did have it happen twice and each time lasted for about 30 seconds but since then when I go mall walking each day it is constant...The doctor says labor is around the corner...

Jen - posted on 02/05/2009

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Quoting Tara:

Braxton Hix?

I am 36 weeks tomorow. With my first pregnancy I thought I was having braxton hicks because it didn't seem so bad, turned out to be the begining of a long labor. With my daughter I went to the hospital with contractions twice in two days before they admited me for delivery. Now I'm having strange cramps, like when a 'charlie horse' climbs up your calf then goes away. The baby moves around in between, so it can't be labor. (?) It seems to happen more when I'm moving about, walking & what-not. Could this be the infamous Braxton Hicks? What's the cause of Braxton hicks anyway?


 

Michelle - posted on 02/05/2009

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I canTell you that Braxton Hicks with baby #2, ect. are much stronger than baby #1 and they can start at anytime during the pregnancy especially during the 3rd trimester. And yes it's just your body's way of practicing.  I know that dehydration and intercourse can make them stronger and occur more often.  Don't worry you will know the difference!

Tanya - posted on 02/05/2009

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BH will ease up if you lay on your left side.  They are just to get your body ready for the real thing.  I went on bed rest at 26 weeks because of them.  The pain is very tolerable.  It feels like your entire belly gets hard and then softens again.  If you have more than 10 in an hour, you NEED to call your doctor.  Hope this helps!

Lori - posted on 02/05/2009

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The truth is labor is different in everyone. All of the tips below are good. I had regular 30 second contractions every 5 minutes for 8 hours when I was 35 weeks, not labor, Cervix closed, pain medicine took them away. 



Real labor is when Contractions Occur that cause cervical change. Usually at about 36 weeks, the uterus will start contracting, if it is irregular not too painful and less than 1 minute in length, and your baby moves well, you have no bleeding and your water has not broken you are usually safe at home or doing normal activity. If they really hurt-- like you want pain relief I would go in and get checked, if it is not real, they can give you pain medicine and you can relax until real labor starts -- If your body is ready sometimes the pain medicine actually relaxes you enough to really labor.  At home warm baths showers, walking resting all can help alleviate your discomfort . Braxton Hicks are contractions just not effective ones. 



Good Luck, 



 

Tressa - posted on 02/05/2009

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i was having contractions for 3 days and weren't even sure if they were contractions. the machine wouldn't pick them up. well my water broke  when i was barely 31 wks along and i had a 4lb 3oz baby boy! i got lucky, he only had 2 stay a week and a half in the hosiptal. he came 5 days after x-mas 'o7. wasn't due til feb. 19th orignally.

Tara - posted on 02/05/2009

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The cramps are in the uterus and comparable to cramps I've had in the leg in the past.



I'm pretty sure they're braxton hicks now, thanks to you all.  I just never experienced them before.  I should really research them because now I'm left with more questions.  Why Does my body feel the need to practice this delivery and didn't for the others?  Do BH give you a timeline of sorts?  Do BH lead to contractions?  Do I need to slow down?  Can I have BH a month or more before actual contractions? ..................... Yeah, I better type BH in my search bar before I get more questions to surface!  Any other mom advice is cirtainly apreciated, as I feel moms know more than "experts" most the time!

User - posted on 02/04/2009

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***** Just read your post again, are the cramps in your leg or belly? If belly then nevermind, but if it's in your leg, call your doctor, it could be the baby on the nerve or a clot(though they asked me about that after labor) But it could never hurt to ask your doctor, that's what you're paying her/him for! :) And good luck!

User - posted on 02/04/2009

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From the sounds of it, they're just braxton hicks. Already got most info you need from the other moms, but here's my two cents :)



When I had them, they were always after I had been, or was doing, a lot of moving around that I didn't normally do. I've heard that sometimes they can be painful, and my doctor said that when they happen to just take it easy, slow down and take a rest from what I was doing. If they don't stop and you can time them, call your doctor.



And as for the baby moving around in between the contractions, when I was in labor (for real) my baby moved around in between at the beginning, but I'd say mainly go with your gut!

Brigette - posted on 02/04/2009

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when i was pregnant with my daughter the doc told me to make sure a drank lots of water no matter what they were because if it was real labor the water would make it easier but like alof of the moms have said so fair if they are coming and going they are bh. when i was about 5 months along my daughter was sitting on a nerve and i would go numb on my right side. It continued until i gave birth to her she was doing this i would honestly recomend that you just keep moving and drinking lots of fluid because it will help in the end with making the delivery less painful.

Natasha - posted on 02/04/2009

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im 36 weeks tomorrow as well!!! and i too am experiencing this as well....good times...lol...i was told that they are your uterus' way of practicing for real labor...and also to stay hydrated...good luck!!!

Jamie - posted on 02/04/2009

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also the baby may be sitting a nerve, my boy sat on my siatic nerve(can't spell) it shot pains down my thigh, i also had LOTS ofn cramping usually only on one side or the other,

Tara - posted on 02/04/2009

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Hope that's what they are.....think that's what they are......guess time will tell.  Thanks for the help!

Jamie - posted on 02/04/2009

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i just had a baby 4 wks ago...real contractions last 30-45 secs no longer than 60 sec. they might not come at regular inverals to be real. but they do not stop, when they're 10 min. apart and keep coming then id go to the hospitol, braxton hoicks are longer and go away

Cerise - posted on 02/04/2009

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Yeah, I would say BH (of course I AM NOT a doc :) If they get really painful I would just call my on call and ask. That's always the safest choice :)

Tara - posted on 02/04/2009

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Yeah, they're not at all regular.  Here & there.  Bunch at the grocery store today.

Cerise - posted on 02/04/2009

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#1 rule, if you can time them, they are real. If you can't they are braxton hicks. That is not set in stone, but it's a pretty good rule :)

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