By Dr. Surinder Kaur Gambhir, Gynaecology
Also known as “false” labor pains, Braxton Hicks contractions usually occur before the actual labor sets in. Their purpose is to prepare the body for the process of giving birth as well as to endure the immense pain once the labor starts.
The features of these contractions are given below:
- They are generally not painful.
- They tend to stop if you change your position or switch from the activity you were performing.
- These contractions are not periodic.
- They do not last very long.
How to differentiate between true labor and Braxton Hicks contractions?
The classification of the symptoms of true labor and Braxton Hicks contractions is outlined below. Now you can tell these from the actual labor contractions.
- Braxton Hicks contractions: In this case, the contractions are not periodic.
- True labor: The contractions in the case of true labor are periodic in nature, and tend to get stronger subsequently.
- Braxton Hicks contractions: Contractions are weak and remain that way.
- True labor: Contractions are strong, and the subsequent ones tend to get stronger.
- Location of the pain
- Braxton Hicks contractions: The pain only occurs in front of the pelvis or the abdomen.
- True labor: In case of true labor, the contractions are intense and start at the lower back. The pain then spreads to the abdomen.
In spite of the knowledge you may have, it is in your best interest to consult your gynecologist if you happen to get these contractions.