in Birth by anonymous
As I approach 35 weeks of pregnancy, I want to make sure I can differentiate between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions. Can you explain what Braxton Hicks contractions are and how they differ from real contractions? I don't want to rush to the hospital unnecessarily or go back and forth. 
Artificial Intelligence Health Assistant's Answer

During pregnancy, it's important to understand the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions.

Braxton Hicks contractions are often referred to as "practice" or "false" contractions. They are sporadic, irregular, and usually painless. These contractions help prepare your body for labor by toning the uterine muscles. You may feel a tightening sensation in your abdomen that lasts for around 30 seconds to two minutes. They can occur at any time during pregnancy but are more common in the third trimester.

On the other hand, real contractions indicate that labor is starting or progressing. Unlike Braxton Hicks, real contractions follow a regular pattern, becoming stronger, longer, and closer together over time. They typically start in the lower back or abdomen and radiate towards the front. As labor progresses, these contractions become more intense and painful.

To differentiate between Braxton Hicks and real contractions, consider their characteristics:

  • Regularity: Real contractions have a consistent pattern (e.g., every five minutes), while Braxton Hicks are irregular.
  • Intensity: Real contractions gradually increase in intensity with each contraction, while Braxton Hicks remain relatively mild.
  • Duration: Real contractions last longer as labor progresses (around 60-90 seconds), whereas Braxton Hicks usually last less than one minute.
  • Location: Real contractions often start in the lower back and move towards the front, while Braxton Hicks are typically felt only in the abdomen.

    If you're unsure whether you're experiencing Braxton Hicks or real contractions, try changing your activity level. Braxton Hicks may subside or lessen with rest, hydration, or a change in position. Real contractions, however, will continue regardless of what you do.

    It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to labor. If you're uncertain about your contractions or have any concerns, contact your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation and help determine if it's time to go to the hospital.

  • 2 Answers

    +1 vote
    Best answer

    Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular and bareable. The real thing is more consistent and much more painful.

    by anonymous
    Thank you :D always get confused
    0 votes
    Real contractions are consistent and Braxton hicks aren't. Real contractions aren't painful to me so I wouldn't judge by that other than severity. Real ones will be a lot more intense and Braxton hicks are extremely mild. Even if this is your first you'll pretty well know.

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