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Difference between BH ctx and "painless" real ctx??

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 


Edited by miriam_bat_avraham - 4/20/13 at 9:49pm
post #2 of 13
I would never advise someone not to call their dr about any concern. If you are worried, you should always call.

However, I will say that on certain evenings when I'm feeling worn out, it's not unusual for me to have 10+ BH contractions in an hour. Same goes for if I'm doing a lot around the house or taking a walk, etc. I typically don't pay them any attention. Sometimes I practice relaxing for labor during that time.

Whenever I see the "call for 4 or more in an hour" advice, I laugh because I would call everyday!

Again, though, that's just me. You can't call too much and it's always best to be safe. And you have some issues going on with bp and gd, right? So it may be different.

Sorry... I'm sure I was no help at all. I tried!
post #3 of 13

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.  :)

post #4 of 13

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!

post #5 of 13

I get a lot of BH, but since they go away when I change position I never bother to call.  But that's just me.

post #6 of 13

I get tons of BH ctx, but since you're carrying twins I'd be more inclined to call if I were you.  You could start contracting very early with twins, so just to be sure I'd give your doc a ring.  (After trying water, putting feet up, etc.)

post #7 of 13
The difference between BH and painless "real" contractions is that the former will not dilate you, the latter will. It's dilation you are concerned about, which might land you on bed rest to keep those babies in as long as possible. In general any time you're getting a lot of contractions, productive or not, it is your body telling you to slow down and take it easy.

Look at for the contractions getting more regular (coming at predictable times), longer, closer together, and stronger. Another thing to look out for is loss of mucus plug and especially plug tinged with blood (aka bloody show). Loss of mucus plug can occur at any point in pregnancy and it will regenerate, but it can point to dilation. Bloody show definitely points to dilation as the blood is from broken blood vessels in the cervix as the cervix stretches and opens. Often (but not always!!) mucus plug with bloody show starts around 2-3 cm dilation. With subsequent pregnancies it is usually later.

I agree with all the pp's advice: call if you are concerned. Listen to your gut. But before you call, definitely try the relaxation tactics mentioned above: bath, water, lay down, etc. Typically, BH and even prodromal labor will stop when you do these things. Real labor will intensify when you relax. But what you really don't want to have happen is your water break too early, which is more common with multiples. If your water breaks, you'll end up in the hospital on bed rest until it is no longer deemed safe and on comes the induction or c-section. So don't feel silly for calling. There are tests that can be done to detect pre-term labor and it could give you peace of mind.
post #8 of 13

Jaimee always has the perfect things to say thumb.gif


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!

post #9 of 13

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. 



post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by dashley111 View Post

Jaimee always has the perfect things to say thumb.gif

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 


Edited by miriam_bat_avraham - 4/20/13 at 9:41pm
post #12 of 13
BH's can be painful, but usually are just uncomfortable.
post #13 of 13
I'm 35 weeks and have been having full prodromal labor for the last week and pre-labor stuff (meaning I'd moved from BH to a mix of BH and pre-labor contractions--which do feel different, but there is no difference in feeling between pre-labor contractions and labor contractions, for me--some hurt, some don't, mostly they're just uncomfortable... doesn't really change until transition, IME). So I'm getting up to 2 hours of prodromal activity (or as little as 30 minutes) a day. Since this is my third birth, I'm pretty good at judging what's 'real' and what's not, but with my first, it was certainly disconcerting when the prodromal stuff started at 38 weeks and I didn't have my baby until 42! One day, I had 5 hours of it and was getting ready to grab my hospital bag when it stopped.

Drink lots of water, lie on your left side and even take a shower before you go in. Unless you're bleeding or the pain is intense, there's no reason to go in too soon (this only applies once you're full term) unless your CP is absolutely against vaginal birth (in which case, I'd suggest finding another one STAT if you can). Before term, I'd say once they're rhythmic and lasting longer than an hour and you've tried the shower/bath, drinking water and resting on your side with no decrease.
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