No Need To Worry

Toward the end of the second trimester (sometimes even earlier if this is your second or later pregnancy), you will become more aware that your uterus often painlessly tightens for a few seconds at a time. These are called 'Braxton Hicks' contractions, so named for the doc who first defined them in 1872.

pregnant profile nudeThese are considered 'practice' contractions or uterine exercise -- and while they are similar to labor contractions, they are not usually uncomfortable, do not quickly get longer and stronger, and do not result in cervical change. They can, however, be strong enough to make you wonder if what you're experiencing is really labor! Many women notice an increased frequency of Braxton Hicks after sex or exercise and as true labor draws near -- and regular BH contractions may indeed be part of very early labor.

They don't hurt. It is a tightening across the stomach that only lasts around 20 seconds or so. If I push on my tummy now, it'll give a little. When I have a Braxton-Hicks, it can feel hard as rock and sometimes can take my breath away! - Donna I started having them at about 22 weeks, and my belly would just all of a sudden go hard as a rock for about one to two minutes and then return to normal. I didn't know what this was until I started prenatal classes. They never hurt, so I was just curious but never asked. - Robin

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