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How can I tell if I'm having Braxton Hicks contractions?

How can I tell if I'm having Braxton Hicks contractions?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

Braxton Hicks contractions feel like period cramps -- a sudden tightening or hardening feeling in your belly. Almost all women get them at some point during pregnancy, though you probably won't be able to feel them until you're more than 20 weeks along. They tend to ramp up as your due date approaches. These sporadic contractions are your body's way of practicing for labor, and can even do some of the early work in helping your cervix start to dilate. When the pain strikes, get up and move around, which sometimes gets contractions to stop, or try test-driving the breathing exercises you're learning for labor in your childbirth classes. The cramps can be triggered by dehydration, so you can also try drinking some water and resting for a little while. Most likely, the cramps will go away. But if they don't dissipate or seem to be getting worse, let your doctor know, since this could be a sign of preterm labor. Toward the end of your pregnancy, you may wonder whether it's Braxton Hicks contractions or the real deal. The best way to tell? Braxton Hicks occur randomly and should go away if you try the tips above. Real labor contractions will come regularly, occurring more often and feeling stronger each time.

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The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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They go away with rest or movement.
Submitted by mommy06+1
It's been my personal experience that I can get Braxton Hicks contractions if I've been standing too long or if I get upset. I found that when I sat down they went away as well.
Submitted by JJA1010
Every woman's pregnancy is different just like every woman's body is different. How one is going to feel Braxton Hicks contractions is going to vary upon person. As for how they can feel, I can say I have felt them in all 3 of the ways you listed out. Period like cramps, once in a while with also a slight or more intense tightening in the abdomen. Also, sometimes this hardening or tightening can feel hard as a rock as well. Dont worry if yu feel them a little differently, thats normal.
Submitted by dmdeering1
While you are pregnant, is it possible to feel like your breastmilk is coming in?
Submitted by djedwardson
People keep giving me mixed messages about what Braxton Hicks contractions feel like. Some say period cramps. Others say a tightening feeling in your stomach that doesn't hurt. Then others say it feels your tummy gets hard as a rock. Which one is it?
Submitted by kesienatani