It is possible to get contractions, that are not the result of going into labor, by as early as the second trimester. These types of irregular contractions are called Braxton Hicks Contractions (aka. “false labor) and occur due to the tightening of the uterine muscles as they prepare your body for the actual labor. This preparation is kind of like a runner going on jogs to train for the big race.
How you can tell the difference between “true” and “false” labor? The following chart offers some clues.
|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|
For the most part these types of contractions should only cause mild discomfort; that being said, it can cause some individuals considerable amounts of discomfort. Here are some tips that will help:
- Go for a short walk
- Take a nap and catch some zzz’s
- Drink fluids: water or herbal tea
- Take deep, “belly” breathes and focus on your breathing for at least 5 minutes
- Eat a health snack
- Get an Acupuncture treatment to relax the tightened uterine muscles and ease and discomfort
For more information on how Acupuncture can help with Braxton Hicks contractions contact us at Fort Collins Family Acupuncture.