Many of you may have heard or felt the Braxton Hicks contractions. These are small uterine contractions that usually occur in the last trimester of pregnancy, especially from the 31st week onwards and are not usually painful.
These contractions are contractions of “preparation” of the body for labour. They are usually perceived as a pressure low in the pelvis, the uterus hardens and then relaxes. Some women feel them like small period pains.
How do they differ from contractions during labour?
Braxton Hicks, as mentioned above, are usually not painful and do not last long or have any specific pattern. In other words, they do not come every 5-10 minutes. They come once in a while. These contractions are perfectly normal during the third trimester of pregnancy while the body prepares for labour.
When should I call someone?
If your uterus becomes hard and you are in severe pain, you cannot speak through the pain or the contractions are frequent, then it is necessary to be seen by a health professional such as your doctor or midwife if they have the ability to monitor the fetus with a cardiotocograph if you are preterm.
Especially when you are at a gestation before the 37th week of pregnancy your baby is still considered premature and you should be seen in an appropriate health facility.
After 37 weeks, it sounds like labour is starting and you are ready to go!
Please join our childbirth education classes at Hera Family Care to be prepared for all these changes!