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Braxton Hicks vs dehydration vs preterm labor?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've heard mommas talking about how they can tell the difference between types of contractions (Braxton Hicks, those caused by dehydration, and actual preterm labor or labor I think are the categories typically mentioned).

I just call everything Braxton Hicks! I get more if I'm dehydrated, but I thought it was still the same thing. Can anyone enlighten me about how different types feel different? Do you have different types or call them different things at various times?
post #2 of 7
I can't/don't distinuigh between them. Honestly, what I call BH right now feel EXACTLY like my early labor ctx with ds. But, they aren't becoming more regular and I can't time them, so they are labelled BH for me.
post #3 of 7
I think you can get more B-H when you're dehydrated. PTL will be contractions that actually DO something, and your cervix will start to dilate. I'm sorry I can't tell you how to tell the difference. I haven't ever felt a B-H or a dehydration contraction. I only had PTL (it was obvious what it was because my water broke 10 hours earlier). The early PTL contractions were fairly far apart and very mild - I wasn't sure if they were contractions or not. They felt more like a tingling going across my belly. I don't think they dilated me when they were feeling like that. The hospital drugs stopped them, and I never let them check my dilation due to infection risk, so who knows if those dinky contractions did anything or not. When my actual labor started (still PTL - I was 29w4d), the contractions felt more like gas cramps that move across my belly. These actually hurt, whereas those ones I'd had 4 days earlier didn't hurt at all. The painful ones were the ones that actually dilated me and produced a baby.
post #4 of 7
I don't think the contractions you get from dehydration are anything other than BH contractions that come more often. Maybe people think they are different because you will tend to get more stronger & regular BH contrax when you are dehydrated & then realize you have not had anything to drink for a while. Then when you drink, they will calm down some. I get BH contrax pretty regularly, but I can tell when they increase due to dehydration or stress (that also causes me to have BH). My PTL contrax felt like really bad stomach cramps & I could not sit through them or ignore them, like I can my BH contrax.
post #5 of 7
I talk about this when I teach prenatal class. BH contrax are practice, your uterus toning itself in preparation for labor. This starts early in pregnancy, around 12-14 weeks, but you really can't feel it until late in the game when the baby is in there all tight. Dehydration contrax are very similar, and go away when you drink. Many times when you call the midwife thinking you are in early labor, she might tell you to drink two glasses of water, lie down to rest, and call her in an hour. IF your contractions continue despite this, you likely have early labor contrax. These come more regularly and stronger, and change your cervix, causing low cramping like a menstrual pain, etc.

And that is the difference.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
So, PTL are more likely to feel painful & crampy while dehydration ones feel like (& may be) BH, just more frequent. Thanks, ladies!
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovingMomma
So, PTL are more likely to feel painful & crampy while dehydration ones feel (& may be) BH, just more frequent. Thanks, ladies!
Not necessarily. It's very possible to have PTL with no pain and "silent" cervical change. I've seen it twice in the past two weeks. It's not as common as having crampy/painful ctx, but it's very possible.
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