Braxton Hicks

Braxton Hicks contractions are sporadic uterine contractions.

What do Braxton Hicks feel like?

You may feel your abdomen tightening for about 30 seconds, several times a day, from week 28 onwards. This can be easy to mistake for labour. You will feel your abdomen harden and, if you are in the bath, for example, you will see it remain tense for several seconds. Unlike labour contractions, Braxton Hicks contractions don’t increase in length, intensity or frequency and they are not painful. They tend to be short and come and go intermittently. Time them; this will help you decide if it is the real thing or not.

Are you in labour?

If you are less than 37 weeks pregnant and you’re having more than four contractions in an hour as well as other signs of preterm labour, contact your midwife for advice.

Last Updated: 12 October 2009
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