Braxton-Hicks Contractions
(False Labor)

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Braxton Hicks contractions facts

  • Braxton-Hicks contractions have been referred to as "false labor" and are contractions of the uterus that occur predominantly in the third trimester.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions are typically less painful than those of true labor.
  • Unlike true labor, Braxton-Hicks contractions are unpredictable, do not occur at regular intervals, and do not become more intense with time.
  • Dehydration and activity are among the circumstances that can trigger Braxton-Hicks contractions.
  • Changing positions may alleviate uncomfortable Braxton-Hicks contractions.

Stages of Pregnancy Pictures Slideshow: See the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Trimesters of Mom & Baby

What are Braxton Hicks contractions?

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Braxton-Hicks contractions are contractions of the uterus that occur during the third trimester of pregnancy. They are perfectly normal and have been said to represent contractions that occur as the uterus is preparing to give birth. In some women, they occur as early as the second trimester. Sometimes, Braxton-Hicks contractions have been referred to as "false labor."

In contrast to true labor contractions, Braxton-Hicks contractions do not occur at regular intervals, do not get stronger over time, and do not last longer over time. They do not occur at predictable times and may disappear altogether for a time. They tend to become more frequent toward the end of pregnancy.

Common events can sometimes trigger Braxton-Hicks contractions, such as increased activity of mother or baby, touching the mother's abdomen, dehydration, sexual intercourse, or having a full bladder.

Braxton-Hicks contractions are named after an English doctor, John Braxton Hicks, who described the condition in 1872.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2014

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Braxton Hicks Contractions - What They Feel Like Question: What did Braxton Hicks contractions feel like for you?
Braxton Hicks Contractions - False or True Labor Question: Describe the difference you experienced between Braxton Hicks contractions and true labor.
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8 signs and symptoms of later pregnancy

Some possible symptoms of later pregnancy

Additional symptoms of later pregnancy are related to the size of the growing uterus and weight gain. As with symptoms of early pregnancy, not all women experience all these symptoms, and women do not experience them to the same degree.

  1. Weight gain
  2. Breast changes
  3. Heartburn
  4. Swollen feet and ankles
  5. Varicose veins
  6. Leakage of urine
  7. Shortness of breath
  8. Braxton-Hicks contractions: In the weeks before delivery, many women experience uterine contractions. Unlike true labor contractions, Braxton-Hicks contractions are weak and do not occur at regular intervals. Labor contractions increase in frequency and intensity.