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Braxton-Hicks or The Real Thing?!?

>> Tuesday, December 7, 2010

  Time to Wait or Time to Go?

  For several weeks now I have been feeling the super-fun effects of Braxton-Hicks contractions. Braxton-Hicks are those practice contractions in the weeks or months leading up to labor/delivery. As I write this they are coming every 3-5 minutes. My first baby was a preemie. She came about 6 weeks early. Since she was my first I called several times in the several weeks before wondering if she could come early. I had read about Braxton-Hicks, but having never experienced them [or labor for that matter] I was never sure if I should call or wait it out. When I did go, I was sent home and was told it was just my body practicing for labor. With my second, I just assumed they would send me home and didn't call. Until one night a month before my due date, I had been having contractions all day and they were closer together and stronger. I called. I was sent to the hospital and to my shock [and horror] they admitted me to the hospital and called all of the surgical team [since I was supposed to have a repeat c-section. I didn't even have a car seat yet. They did get the contractions to stop and I was sent home a day and a half later. But it's good to know if you should call, go in, or sit with your feet up drinking some water.
  So for those of you having your first or second or are just unsure, here are some general guidelines. **ALWAYS refer to your Physician and follow their advice for your personal situation, and always if you feel there is something wrong, call the doctor or go to the hospital.

Contraction Characteristics
False Labor
True Labor
How often do the contractions occur?
Contractions are often irregular and do not get closer together
Contractions come at regular intervals and last about 30-70 seconds. As time goes on, they get closer together.
Do they change with movement?
Contractions may stop when you walk or rest, or may even stop if you change positions
Contractions continue despite movement or changing positions
How strong are they?
Contractions are usually weak and do not get much stronger. Or they may be strong at first and then get weaker.
Contractions steadily increase in strength
Where do you feel the pain?
Contractions are usually only felt in the front of the abdomen or pelvic region
Contractions usually start in the lower back and move to the front of the abdomen

Some Items You May Need:
* A watch, clock, timer or app for your phone. I am using an app from iTunes called "Contraction" There are several apps for different phone platforms. Lots are free some are in the 99 cent range. Works great when you're alone and don't have a timing buddy. 
*Comfy place to relax and put your feet up. If it's braxton-hicks contractions, this will make a difference. 
*Water bottle. Drinking water can help ease braxton-hicks, and if you're in labor and you're walking around, it's a good thing to have with you!

You Might Experience These if You are in Labor:
*Pressure in pelvis or vagina
*Menstrual-like cramps
*Fluid Leak
*Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea 

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Sadie December 7, 2010 at 7:47 AM  

This was so helpful! I'm in my "due week" and last night I was having false labor but really couldn't be sure. I ended up laying down and resting and before I knew it the contractions were gone. Its my second child but its funny how much you forget! I think we try to forget! So thanks for this post, it was a very helpful reminder!!

Lil' Miss Sunshine December 7, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

OH I'm so glad this helped you! I'm carrying baby three so I totally agree! It's like I completely forgot about some stuff [or blocked it!] Good Luck with the rest of your pregnancy and Congrats on your soon-to-join-you new baby!

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