Around the twentieth week of gestation, even before, the uterus contracts and hardens at times preparing for childbirth. Like all muscles, the uterus must have some training to support labor. These contractions are characterized because they cover the entire uterus, beginning at the top and gradually extending downwards: they are the Braxton Hicks contractions.
Although painless, they are somewhat uncomfortable; You will feel your abdomen harden and some abdominal tension when they appear. Braxton Hicks contractions usually last approximately 30 seconds.
As the pregnancy progresses, these contractions become more frequent and lasting, even painful. You will undoubtedly be able to differentiate them from labor contractions, as they are very different. Labor contractions are very regular, they happen every 2 or 3 minutes and they last for 90 or 120 seconds each, not counting that they don't go unnoticed because most of the time they are painful.
How to lessen the symptoms of Braxton Hicks contractions? The recommendations are very simple. If you feel your abdomen tense, rest and relax. Lie on your side and monitor the contractions for an hour, changing position. It is also very useful to get up and take a walk.
- More than 4 contractions per hour if you are less than 36 weeks pregnant or more than 5 contractions if you have more than 36 weeks.
- Contractions accompanied by abdominal, back or pelvic pain.
- Contractions accompanied by any type of unusual vaginal discharge.
- History of premature delivery.
If you have any of these symptoms or have doubts, consult your doctor immediately.