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As a woman in her second or third trimester of pregnancy, you may have started experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions, also known as prodromal labor or false labor, are often described as a tightening or hardening of the uterus. While they can be uncomfortable or even painful, you may be wondering whether they are a cause for concern. In this article, we`ll explore what Braxton Hicks contractions are and whether you should be worried about them.

What are Braxton Hicks Contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions are a common occurrence during pregnancy. They are named after an English doctor, John Braxton Hicks, who first described them in 1872. Unlike true labor contractions, which help to progressively dilate the cervix and eventually lead to the birth of a baby, Braxton Hicks contractions are not associated with any cervical changes and do not signify the onset of labor.

Braxton Hicks contractions are often described as a tightening or hardening of the uterus. They may feel like cramping or a squeezing sensation in the lower abdomen or pelvic area. Some women also report feeling a mild ache or discomfort in their back or thighs. These contractions can occur at any time during pregnancy, but they are most common in the second and third trimesters.

Why Do Braxton Hicks Contractions Occur?

The exact cause of Braxton Hicks contractions is not fully understood, but they are thought to be a normal part of pregnancy. Some possible reasons why they occur include:

– The uterus is practicing for labor: Braxton Hicks contractions may help to prepare the uterus for the eventual onset of true labor.

– Increased blood flow to the uterus: As the pregnancy progresses, more blood flows to the uterus, which can cause it to contract.

– Dehydration: Being dehydrated can make Braxton Hicks contractions more frequent or intense.

Should You be Concerned About Braxton Hicks Contractions?

While Braxton Hicks contractions can be uncomfortable, they are generally nothing to worry about. Unlike true labor contractions, they do not lead to the birth of a baby. However, there are some situations where you should contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions:

– They are accompanied by vaginal bleeding or discharge, which could be a sign of preterm labor.

– They are coming at regular intervals and are increasing in frequency and intensity, which could be a sign of premature labor.

– They are causing significant discomfort or pain, which could be a sign of a more serious condition like placental abruption.

In general, if you are experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, it is important to stay hydrated, take breaks, and rest as needed. You can also try changing positions or taking a warm bath to help relieve any discomfort. If you are unsure whether your contractions are Braxton Hicks or true labor, don`t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider for advice.


Braxton Hicks contractions are a normal part of pregnancy and are generally not a cause for concern. However, if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms or have concerns about your contractions, it is always best to contact your healthcare provider. With proper care and attention, you can stay comfortable and healthy throughout your pregnancy.