Medical Definition of Uterine contraction

Uterine contraction: The tightening and shortening of the uterine muscles.

During labor, contractions accomplish two things: (1) they cause the cervix to thin and dilate (open); and (2) they help the baby to descend into the birth canal.

Uterine contractions also occur during the monthly menstrual cycle and are recognized as menstrual cramps.

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Last Editorial Review: 12/27/2018