By Dr Jaideep Malhotra , IVF Speciality
When you decide to give motherhood a chance and prepare yourself to bring a life into the world, you may also have to prepare yourself for a lot of changes to your lifestyle and health. You may go through bodily changes that you may find very surprising, and some conditions may present themselves which may not be very pleasing to you.
A lot of women experience false labour pain, especially during the later stages of the pregnancy. In such cases, a women may feel like she is experiencing labour pain and that may even at times lead her to take emergency consultation from her doctor. These practice contractions are known as Braxton hicks contractions. While the contractions may be similar to real labour contractions, they may not be as painful, and in many cases, some women don’t even feel them.
About Braxton hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions signal the early signs of labour, and prepare the body for the real thing. With the experience of false contractions, women may be able to mentally prepare themselves for what they have to go through when they go into actual labour. Just as the real contractions increase in number and appear closer to each other as you near labour, the Braxton hicks contractions also get more frequent as the labour approaches.
The feeling of false contractions brings a feeling of tightening and constriction of the uterine muscles which extend to the lower parts as well. The abdomen of the woman may seem to become harder and appear pointy during the contraction.
Knowing the difference
In order to be able to maintain calm and composure throughout the pregnancy, it may be important to know the major differences between the real contractions and Braxton hicks contractions.
- The contractions in a false alarm situation are generally irregular and are not consistent; on the other hand, a real labour may have contractions that are regular and may get closer in time as the delivery advances.
- The Braxton Hicks contractions may not have any discharge accompanying it, while the actual labour contractions may have a pinkish discharge.
- False contractions can be controlled by changing the position of sleeping or sitting, but the same is not true for labour contractions, which continue irrespective of a change in position.
While the Braxton hicks contractions may be a false alarm and you may know how to recognise them, it is important to ask an expert help when the contractions seem to persist, because the early contractions in real labour may not be as painful and may only seem like false contractions.