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Do You Have Excessive Braxton Hicks Contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions are annoying. That’s just the best way to describe them. They aren’t really painful but they kind of make me have to stop whatever I’m doing and hunch over a little bit and focus on my breathing. The tightness of my abdomen just makes me feel like an overinflated beach ball. I started getting them around week 34 with my first pregnancy, but this time around they’ve been harassing me nonstop. They were acknowledged as “false” contractions by Dr. John Braxton Hicks, so that’s his legacy, poor guy.

No joke, I had my first Braxton Hicks contraction at week 13. I FREAKED OUT! When it happened, I had no idea they could happen that early and I panicked. After a quick google search, I realized it happens to a lot of women this early.

But why?

The first person I asked was my doctor, who told me dehydration is a common cause of cramping and Braxton Hicks contractions. During pregnancy, women should be drinking water like crazy to stay hydrated. For water consumption guidelines during pregnancy, click here.

Other causes of Braxton Hicks can include

  • Increased activity by either mommy or baby
  • A full bladder (so, basically a pregnant bladder at any given time)
  • Sex
  • Someone touching mommy’s belly (yet another reason to kindly ask strangers to keep their hands off of you!)

It’s not common to be able to feel them so early, but apparently, the uterus starts doing these “practice” contractions as early as 6 weeks. Most women don’t feel them until the middle of their pregnancy or into their third trimester. At the end of pregnancy Braxton Hicks are often referred to as “false labor,” but my doctor told me they aren’t false, the uterus really is contracting, but they’re just not productive contractions.

All I know is with all this “practice” my uterus has felt inclined to do throughout my entire pregnancy, it better be a pro during labor and get the job done quickly and effectively!

Until then, there are some things women can do to alleviate the discomfort from Braxton Hicks contractions

  • For me, they come at any time of the day and in any position I’m in, so the trick is to just do the opposite of whatever I’m doing. If I’m walking, I stop and sit down. If I’m sitting or lying down, I stand up and walk around. Usually changing positions will give me some relief.
  • Eating or drinking something can help. Drinking water especially helps, since the contractions are linked to dehydration.
  • Although I haven’t personally tried it, taking a warm bath may help alleviate the contractions as well. But make sure not to hang out in a warm bath for too long to prevent dehydration.

What was emphasized to me when I inquired about my excessive Braxton Hicks contractions was to monitor them and make sure they aren’t actually preterm labor. I have them spread out at least 10 times per day, but having 4 or more in an hour can be a sign of early labor. Especially if they’re associated with any other signs of preterm labor, you should call your doctor if something doesn’t feel right to you. Trust your gut, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Did you have intense Braxton Hicks contractions? Do you have any tips that gave you relief?

Author Info

Angela Silva

Angela graduated with her B.S. in Exercise and Wellness and is a NASM certified personal trainer who specializes in postpartum fitness and recovery. She enjoys writing, cracking jokes, and spending time with her family, preferably while fishing. She shares many of her life adventures on Instagram as @angelagrams

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12 thoughts on “Do You Have Excessive Braxton Hicks Contractions?

kulitit@gmail.com'

Estella

My sister is 23 weeks gestation she had Braxton hick on an off lasted for 2 hours I wanted to take her to ER last night around 3am but she wants to wait until doctor office is open at 8am. I think she had preterm labor.

mommyam16@gmail.com'

Amber

Yes! I had them a lot with my first and now I’m getting them even more with this one. When they are most annoying is after I pee in the middle of the night. They actually do feel almost like cramping then. All I can figure is that I don’t wake up right away when I have to per (does pregnancy change the urge to pee for anyone else?!). I’ve actually stopped doing cardio because I get them every time I do. Even though my midwife said that’s normal. Guess I’ll just keep chugging water and peeing. Yay for finally being in the third trimester!

jeannylim888@gmail.com'

jeanie

I’ve been experiencing these since week 16 and i’ve even gone to the ER for fear of labor but my cervix was normal and all! I guess i can chalk mine up to braxon hicks, although my ob in particular says i shouldn’t get it these early. Every time it happens it freaks me out! Worrywart me and pregnancy are not the best combo!

juliettarayment@hotmail.com'

Juliet

This is my first pregnancy and I’ve had Braxton Hicks since 15 weeks. They started at 7-8 a day and now I’m 33 weeks they’re more like 7-8 an hour. Nothing really makes them stop although they get less frequent if I rest. It’s interesting how different healthcare professionals have totally different takes on these. Some women seem to be put on medication, bed rest or at least being encouraged to do something to help them stop – my midwife is completely unconcerned!

Angela Silva

I know, Juliet! Did you see my updated post, though? I found out these aren’t Braxton Hicks contractions, they’re actually from uterine irritability (which I’d never heard of before but a trip to L&D taught me real quick)
http://owletcare.com/blog/these-arent-braxton-hicks-contractions/
If your contractions are that frequent you might want to see if they are from uterine irritability, because those contractions are different than Braxton Hicks and walking around/changing positions won’t help ease them like with Braxton Hicks.
Either way, I’m sorry you’re dealing with them, they are NOT fun. Hang in there 🙂

juliettarayment@hotmail.com'

Juliet

I hadn’t seen your post – very interesting! Mostly mine aren’t painful but some are, and walking DEFINITELY doesn’t make them better! It’s so awkward to walk with a constantly contracting uterus! Thanks for the info; I’ll go and find out more.

Angela Silva

Yeah I hadn’t heard of it and assumed they were Braxton Hicks, it was an interesting discovery. I hope you find something that helps you get some relief!

janeputnam@gmail.com'

Jane

I had Braxton Hicks contractions for a few weeks in my second pregnancy – and I totally agree with you, they are so annoying! I found the best way to stop them was to get rest (which as a mom in total nesting mode, was annoying but necessary!)

Angela Silva

That’s my current dilemma… do I rest or do I nest? 😉

Lacey Pappas

Oh girl, I had braxton hicks throughout 2 of my pregnancies, and yes, they HURT and are annoying! That Derek meme is hilarious!

For me, drinking lots of water and changing positions like you suggested helped big time.

Hang in there!

Angela Silva

They are seriously so annoying, and one part of pregnancy I don’t miss when it’s over.