False Labor

Can you please give me any information on Braxton Hicks Syndrome?

Braxton Hicks Syndrome is what is otherwise known as "false labor". Sometime during the middle of a woman's pregnancy, she may experience relatively painless, random contractions. These contractions are false labor. As the pregnancy progresses, the contractions may get more uncomfortable, but they remain equally as random. Some people believe that these contractions are the body's way of preparing itself for labor, and getting the process into motion. These contractions can provide a good opportunity for a woman to practice her breathing exercises!

It can be difficult to tell the contractions of false labor apart from the real thing, especially when so much of a pregnant woman's attention is directed towards the unpredicatable moment of labor. There are a few things though that help a woman differentiate false labor from true labor. Braxton Hicks contractions will be consistent in intensity and frequency, whereas true labor contractions will grow progressively more intense and more frequent. True labor will also be accompanied by lower back pain, and the appearance of blood streaked vaginal discharge. False labor is felt more as a pain in the abdomen than the lower back. The contractions will occur but will then taper off and disappear, whereas with true labor, the contractions don't stop. Unlike true labor contractions the pain or discomfort of false labor contractions can be managed by drinking a glass of water or getting up and walking around. Some women say that lying down helps the contractions subside.

If a woman feels contractions that indicate true labor at any time during her pregnancy she should call her doctor or midwife immediately. It is also not a bad idea, if there is some doubt to simply gain reassurance by placing a call.

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