Braxton-Hicks Contractions (False Labor)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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What do Braxton Hicks contractions feel like?

Braxton-Hicks contractions are not typically as painful as those of true labor contractions may be. Some women describe them as a tightening sensation across the lower abdomen. They may feel similar to menstrual cramps in some women. The abdomen may become firm to the touch. They do not occur at regular intervals.

What can be done if Braxton Hicks contractions are uncomfortable?

There are measures that can be taken to bring about relief if Braxton-Hicks contractions are uncomfortable:

  • Changing positions, such as taking a walk, or resting if you have been active;
  • Drinking a glass of water, or a cup of herbal tea;
  • Performing relaxation exercises, deep breathing, or mental relaxation;
  • Eating something;
  • Bathing in warm bath for up to 30 minutes;
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2016

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