Edited by miriam_bat_avraham - 4/20/13 at 9:49pm
I've heard that the general rule is that if you get more than 4-5 an hour for several hours, you should call. However, before you call you should try drinking water, laying down on your left side or soaking in a bath. Often these things will stop the BH, which means that it isn't real labor.
From my personal experience, I KNEW when the real labor contractions were starting. There was something different about them (pain, stronger) that made it really obvious to me that things were changing. Also, I get BH all the time and I'm pregnant with just 1 baby. Often toward the end I would get some every few minutes for a while and then they'd taper off.
When in doubt, call, that's the dr's job. :)
I never really had BH contractions last time and have not had one yet this time. But, when my labor started, the contractions were pretty much painless, so there really is such thing as a painless contraction. It wasnt for several hours that they began to be at all painful, and even then it was extremely mild, tolerable pain for quite awhile. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and especially if you have other problems in your pregnancy, and obviously since you are carrying twins, I would not feel at all bad about calling whenever I needed reassurance or help!
Jaimee always has the perfect things to say
I was going to say that the difference is what effect the contractions are having on your body- I know they say BH don't "hurt", but that is not always true. They can hurt, but just because they hurt does not mean they are changing your cervix at all. Also, you can have contractions that DON'T hurt and ARE changing your cervix. Every body is different, every person has a different tolerance for pain and a different idea of what discomfort/pain feel like. Which is one of the reason that realistically only your doc will be able to answer this question for you.
I had preterm labor with my first and shrugged it off as BH until it was way too late. Now, with my 2nd pregnancy I was constantly going to L&D for more than 4 ctx in an hour and they never caused any change. This time I feel comfortable that I know my body enough I can tell the difference. Your a first time mom, they expect you to call a bajillion times (as a LOT of FTM's do), there is no shame in that!
I'm not having twins, but I have been having regular, painful contractions with bowel loosening and loss of mucus plug. All the classic signs of preterm labour. The only thing that made it OK was doing exactly what the ladies above recommended - lying down for a long while, drinking buckets of water, relaxing. Extremely difficult to do as I have a two-year-old and we were weeks then days away from moving, but better that than it developing into true preterm labour! I basically put myself on modified bedrest for a few days, because every time I would get up to do anything I would start getting contractions again. I've been doing a lot of relaxing after the move too, because I've been sick, so we'll see how the uterus does once I'm up and about unpacking and nesting.
I have talked to my midwives about it, both over the phone at the time and at my latest appointment, and they were mildly concerned, but mostly not, as they went away after resting. But I don't have twins with other stuff going on, so I'd probably call.