Braxton-Hicks and real contractions?

[deleted account] ( 13 moms have responded )

I'm 36 weeks pregnant with our second child. I don't remember exactly how contractions feel but they didn't feel like this! How would I know if the contractions I'm having are real and not Braxton- Hicks? According to my doctor, what I'm having are Braxton-Hicks and she told me that if I'm having 4 to 5 contractions in an hour then I need to go to the hospital. The most I get are 3 in an hour and they aren't consistant but I'm just curious how I could tell the difference between the two since we live about an hour away from the hospital depending on traffic.


Dee - posted on 10/19/2012




Absolute tosh!!!!!!!!!! I NEVER contract regularly and nor is it painful. With my second I went to hospital with bleeding to be told I was 7cm dilated and was having NO PAIN, they broke my waters, I had 4 contractions that hurt and he was born 48 mins later. (over 30 mins was pushing time) and the same had happened with my first!!!

Kristen - posted on 03/11/2010




Some times you can get Braxton- Hicks very early on in your pregnancy as well. Especially if you are overdoing it ( like moving furniture) or are dehydrated. Often, if you have a glass of cold water and rest,put your feet up, or better yet lie down, BH will diminish.
If they do not, and they intensify, then you might have started labor. I have had some of my clients start BH as early as 25 weeks.
A BH contraction generally does not hurt. There will be a tightening sensation in your belly and it will get "pointy" and stick more forward. A birthing contraction may be localized down into the lower pelvis, or could wrap all the way around your abdomen & be felt in your back too. It really depends on how the baby is positioned inside as to where you might feel it. But if the contractions are deep and take your breath away- and you have been relaxing, begin to time them to see if they are getting you ready for delivery.
Keep breathing, remain peaceful and be comfortable regardless of whether you think they might be labor pains or simply because you might have overdone it. (like we all do!)
RELAX! That is key.-Kristen

Brooke - posted on 03/12/2010




I had BH for a week before my son was born everyday at the same time..... n walking an hot bath helped ease the pain....... if you can ease the pain its most likly BH but you could be almost there!

Walking made my Real Contractions Worse and Laying down or Standing still also made them painful so i had to pace back n fourth, Midwifes are very understanding so ring and talk to them, they can tell alot by the way you sound.

Good Luck wit everything xo

Sheree - posted on 03/11/2010




I love the people that say you will always know the difference. Its not always true. I didnt i still thought i was having braxton hicks and was actually in labour and 6cm dialated. I didnt know the difference as it was my fst child and real contractions were not any more painful or regular then the braxton hicks. Even when i got to 9-10cm my contractions were still all over the place, some very short, others long, some 1 minute apart some 3. I went to the hosp as my mum was sure i was in labour and i agreed to go and be checked. Lucky i did, thats when i found i was 6cm and had my little girl 90mins later. best of luck with everything

Donna - posted on 03/11/2010




I was told to get up and walk. If they are real they won't go away and will get stronger.But with my last one I had them almost every night the last month and my Dr. said it was Braxton-Hicks but I was steadily dilating. I dilated to 8 and was not in labor. Everyone is different.

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Sharon - posted on 03/12/2010




BH contrations are not; regular, real painfull, or timely.
Real contractions are: timely , vary in intensity, last over a hour, will wake you from a nap, dont stop.
Don't worry your labor will last over an hour, and you will know when its time to go.
I had then with all three of my boys. One on and off for a full month before he was born.
Just relax. the baby will be here soon enough.

Adrienne - posted on 03/11/2010




I've been having Braxton Hicks now for 3 weeks and they have gotten stronger this morning. My doctor says to go by the 5-1-1 rule ( every 5 minutes for a minute for an hour) to figure out if they are really contractions or not. But for my first son I didn't even feel my contractions when going into labor. For my second son I had back labor and all that felt like was my lower back felt uncomfortable. I'm 36 weeks today and went in to visit my doctor with back pain thinking I'm going into labor but only braxton hicks but he says I may be having baby really soon. Braxton Hicks I believe does help you dilate. I found out that today that I am already dilated. Good Luck!

Nikki - posted on 03/11/2010




You will just know, contractions become increasingly painful, you will not be able to continue what you are doing with a real contraction (well this was the case for me) My contractions were never in a proper pattern until I was 2 mins apart, but they are more intense than BH, I rang the midwife and she told me they were BH because there was no pattern but I knew they were real and they were, she was born 4.5 hours later! Good luck

Laura - posted on 03/11/2010




i was the same way......with my daughter i knew the difference, but with both of my sons the contractions and the braxton hicks were exactly the same.....the only thing i knew to look out for was how close together they were and if they were 5 mins apart for a few hours, i knew i was in labor....although 2 out three of my pregnancies, i was in early labor.....just time them everytime your belly gets tight....that will tell you if your in true labor or not

Holly - posted on 03/11/2010




I was the same, BH for me were irregular and they say won't last for a long period of time but were almost 30seconds long! When I first started getting my contractions they were also irregular so I thought it was just the BH and I coudn't see a pattern until an hour later and I could definately feel them getting stronger with a build up, climax and then fade away. They started about 15-20 minutes apart and were anywhere between 9- 12 minutes apart, then were dead on 8 minutes apart and were definatley stronger and longer. I hope this helps, as soon as you feel them getting more intense and see a bit of an increasing pattern coming then i'd start thinking about ringing the doc/midwife.

[deleted account]

Even though they're not consistant I do feel them in my lower abdomen and back. I have tightening really bad, it feels like my head is going to pop off. lol They always seem to disapper but not due to me changing positions. They just seem to go away after I have 3 in an hour. I haven't been checked to see if I'm dialated at all. Do braxton-hicks cause you to dialate?

[deleted account]

I think that if they aren't consistant than they are not real contractions. One way my birth class teacher said to tell the difference is if you can feel them in your lower back. This was totally true for me when the day came, I could feel them not just in my lower abdomen but also in my back. However, I think that if you begin to be concerned it's always better to be safe than sorry, you could always laugh at yourself later. Best of luck and congratulations.

Brandy - posted on 03/11/2010




Braxton Hicks will be randomly spaced apart and will usually get lighter or stop when you get up and walk or change positions. Contractions will be evenly consistantly spaced apart and get worse with walking. Be careful though because with my second, I went from having BH to having contractions 7 minutes apart, down to 3 minutes apart within 45 minutes and delivered all within 4 hours. And my first baby took two days. So if you have any feeling that you might be in labor, you better get on the road.

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