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, are bleeding or having other signs of preterm labour, call the hospital immediately. You can find more out about the signs you should be looking for.

If you have not felt your baby move as she usually does then lie down on your left side for an hour quietly.  Have a hot or cool drink and see if you notice any movement. Don't get distracted with the TV or your phone or books  If you are still worried, call your midwife or doctor. Do not rely on home use devices as these can pick up your heartbeat and provide false assurance. Don't wait until the next day to seek help.

Last Updated: 22 January 2018
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