Every pregnant woman is highly attentive to their bodies, often worrying about every twinge as a sign something might not be wrong, or confused about whether what they are experiencing is normal. One symptom almost every pregnancy features is Braxton Hicks contractions. But what do Braxton Hicks Contractions feel like?
These contractions are different from labor contractions in their intensity, location and duration. Whereas labor pains are distinguished by their gripping nature, their location in the lower back and abdomen and long duration, Braxton Hicks contractions are more like an all-over or partial tightening of the belly that typically only lasts for a few seconds. It is theorized that Braxton Hicks contractions (named after the British doctor who identified them for the first time in the late 1800’s) are something like what warm-ups and stretches are to a workout: preparation.
Some women hardly feel them at all, while others complain that they’re painful. Just like many pregnancy symptoms, Braxton Hicks contractions are very individual things with every woman. Women who have been pregnant before say they notice them more than in their first pregnancies. Some moms notice them more when they are up and moving about, and that they abate when they sit down or relax. They are a bit disconcerting at first, as your tummy will go from pleasantly firm but giving to almost rock-hard for a few seconds. It goes as quickly as it comes, and hardly ever hurts for the majority of women.
As you approach your due date the Braxton Hicks contractions will sometimes start getting closer together and lasting longer, but rarely become regular. If you do begin to experience belly-tightening contractions which become more painful, close together and last longer each time, call your doctor or midwife, as these could be earnest labor pains.