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What do braxton hicks feel like?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Okay - so I never had BH with my son but starting a few days ago I started to feel period like crampiness. There is no "start" or "stop" like in labor contractions. So what is this crampiness I'm feeling? It feels like when I'm having period cramps and kind of wraps around my back. It's just a constant crampy feeling that lasts a half hour or longer. Are these braxton hicks? What do BH feel like? Is there a start and a stop -- as in you can time them? 


Please share! 

post #2 of 8

In my experience BH are non-painful, whole belly tightening, and do come and go.  However, this may be different for others.  I have had (and heard of) various kinds of "crampiness" increasing in preparation that can come and go for weeks before.  Wish I had more specific info.  shrug.gif  

post #3 of 8

I have had two kinds of non-labour contractions in pregnancy, and I have never been sure which (if either) counts as BH. Most commonly I have a strong tightening of my uterus, not painful but uncomfortable as it feels like there is a bowling ball in my abdomen pressing down on everything! I have had this from around 16 weeks onwards with this pregnancy and my first, it is usually worse with activity or if my bladder is full. Then more recently, just with this pregnancy I think, I have what feels a bit more like you are describing - period-type cramps which tend to last for only a few seconds, a couple of times longer. I don't think I've experienced the much longer cramps you have, although I do have periodic aches and pains in my lower abdominal area which I presumed was just stretching etc.


I always thought BH were meant to be fairly short in duration, although it sounds like whatever you are experiencing it is your body gearing up for labour all right!

post #4 of 8

I haven't gone into labor yet, so I'm assuming that all of the things I've had so far count as BH.  That includes my belly getting rock hard and staying that way for a looooong time (like 15-30 minutes), more typical abdominal tightness that comes and goes (neither of those hurt), and the more recent lower back to lower uterus cramping that feel very similar to period cramps and definitely don't feel very comfortable! 

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

These are definitely more the second type of what you both describe. I guess these aren't BH then - b/c its not my belly tightening and they are a bit painful - just like period type cramps are. I've never experienced (or felt) that non-painful tightening you both describe with the belly... it must be an interesting sensation.  

post #6 of 8

I'm 35w with my first baba and as I also didn't know how to distinguish BH my midwife gave me the following description: they are strong tightening of the stomach muscles (painless) and can sometimes feel like a big baby movement. I have definitely had these sensations: every night I wake up to go to the loo and my tummy is ROCK hard. Last night all 3 times I got up it was the same. It never hurt at all just felt hard and huge.


As for the menstrual type craming, although I haven't had these yet myself it sounds pretty normal as I've heard many moms describing this kind of sensation with the onset of labour and so it stands to reason that your "practice contractions" may resemble this.

post #7 of 8
I don't really know what I'm having, either. I've been on meds for preterm labor since 34 weeks, but I'm still not sure I've had any actual labor, because I haven't dilated. My contractions range from slightly uncomfortable pressure sensations to around 4-5 on the pain scale with wrapping around my back and pain/cramping in my lower abdomen and even butt and thighs at times. I have multiple, multiple, multiple contractions of varying nature and intensity all day every day (probably in the range of 100+ times a day). I've often wondered if contractions are really so cut and dry as "Braxton Hicks versus the real thing" or if there are some gray areas.
post #8 of 8

I was wondering the same thing... I've had one contraction where my whole belly got tight and it lasted for about 30 seconds, and otherwise I have these strong cramps like menstrual cramps for 10-20 minutes with short breaks of no crampiness... Doc asked if I had been having BH and I said I wasn't sure. I hope whatever I am feeling is helping to get ready for labor!

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