Braxton-Hicks contractions are usually painless contractions
of the uterus. Some women report painful sensations or more often,
uncomfortable tightening of the abdominal wall. The Braxton-Hicks
contractions are usually intermittent and come and go without
an increase in intensity. The sometimes painful contractions are
usually felt beginning after the twenty-eighth week of pregnancy.
This sensation is due to the increasing amounts of estrogen and
also due to the fact that the uterus is experiencing distention.
These really are the same sort of pains felt during menstruation.
Some women find them more frequent, usually after the pregnancy
is well established.
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The contractions may occur every ten to twenty minutes any time
after the twenty-eighth week and may not be felt by some women
at all. Other women feel them continually with intensity. Sometimes,
the severity of the pain is due to the fact the women is a
and is more aware of changes in her body. Or, a multigravida
may be more aware of Braxton-Hicks contractions due to multiple
pregnancies. They are usually most noticeable toward the end of
the pregnancy although the contractions can be experienced any
time after the pregnancy is into the second month or so.
Sometimes, the fact that the uterine contractions are happening
close to the end of the pregnancy, they prompt women to go to
the hospital because the Braxton-Hicks contractions are mistakenly
considered to be true labor pains. Thus, Braxton-Hicks contractions
are also known as false labor pains. Probably, if statistics were
quoted, it would be found that nine out of ten women especially
during their first pregnancy go at least once to the hospital
experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions.