What Do Braxton Hicks Contractions Feel Like?
Here's how you can tell if you're feeling Braxton Hicks contractions — or if the pain in your belly means baby is on the way.
Almost all women get Braxton Hicks contractions at some point during pregnancy, though you probably won't be able to feel them until you're more than 20 weeks along. 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.
Braxton Hicks contractions feel like random period cramps—a sudden tightening or hardening feeling in your belly.
What do they not feel like? Real labor contractions will come regularly, occurring more often and feeling stronger each time. These won't go away.
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. Braxton Hicks should go away if you try one of these tips.
Sadly, these cramps tend to ramp up as your due date approaches, and most likely, they 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.
RELATED: Signs of Approaching Labor