Early and frequent Braxton-Hicks - who else has had this without preterm labor? - Mothering Forums

Early and frequent Braxton-Hicks - who else has had this without preterm labor?

Neldavi's Avatar Neldavi (TS)
05:48 PM Liked: 11
#1 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 998
Joined: Jun 2005
So my last pregnancy BH started around 28 weeks and were pretty frequent (it would be unusual for an hour to pass without having one or two). It was unclear what was going on and I was obviously extremely worried so I put myself on bedrest for a couple of months, got up at 37 weeks and didn't give birth until 3 days before my due date. Bedrest was hell. I was so upset and worried, didn't know what was going on with my body, and wasn't even sure that staying in bed was helping, I was just laying there contracting.

I'm 21 weeks pregnant now (2nd pregnancy) and have been having BH for a couple weeks now. Maybe one every couple of hours on average. Could this just be what my body does? How much is too much? Anyone else have frequent and early BH in an otherwise normal, term pregnancy?

I really just want to stop worrying and carry on. Anyone else experienced this?
maxmama's Avatar maxmama
06:07 PM Liked: 12
#2 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 2,378
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This pregnancy, I've been contracting daily (painful regular BH for at least two hours a day)since 17 weeks. My cervix is 4 cm long, closed and high. Clearly, I'm not in preterm labor, but damn, they hurt.

You know how most providers have you call if you're contracting regularly for more than an hour or two earlier than 37 weeks? Mine said, "Um, if you're contracting regularly..wait, okay, if they're painful...well, okay, just call if you think you need to be seen."

Some people contract a lot. And FWIW, there's no real treatment that's been shown to improve outcomes with true PTL (as in cervical change, true labor, not just contracting). We can make ladies stop contracting,but then they generally weren't in labor.
lizabird's Avatar lizabird
06:12 PM Liked: 11
#3 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 1,976
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From what I've read in books and heard from my midwives, BH contractions are both more noticable and more common in subsequent pregnancies. I started feeling mine a LOT sooner the 2nd time around than with the first one, and I don't remember exactly how often I felt them earlier in this pregnancy, but now (36 weeks) it seems like I feel them all the time. I wouldn't worry about it at all unless you have any other symptoms of preterm labor. If you're concerned, ask your midwife if you have one...
mamanurse's Avatar mamanurse
06:14 PM Liked: 11
#4 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 3,074
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I started feeling BH at 24 weeks. They occured daily starting around 32 weeks. Dd was born healthy at 37w 4d. I had a really easy labor and deliver FWIW.
Neldavi's Avatar Neldavi (TS)
06:39 PM Liked: 11
#5 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 998
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Originally Posted by mamanurse
I started feeling BH at 24 weeks. They occured daily starting around 32 weeks. Dd was born healthy at 37w 4d. I had a really easy labor and deliver FWIW.
When you say daily do you mean a few times a day, or at least once an hour throughout the day. If I was just having a couple a day I wouldn't worry, but it seems like a lot for 21 weeks pregnant, yk?
mamanurse's Avatar mamanurse
06:55 PM Liked: 11
#6 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 3,074
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I'd say it happened 1-2 times a day with multiple BHs per time. Meaning I would have about 10-15 contractions every day. I

If you're worried, I'd contact your care provider and see what they think. That would at least put your mind at ease
storychick's Avatar storychick
07:09 PM Liked: 0
#7 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 678
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I have had frequent (though I think irregular, or at least far enough spaced that I didnt notice regularity) through all of my pregnancies. With this one (#3) I started noticing them pretty much as soon as I knew I was pregnant, about 6 weeks I'd say. I had my previous two at 38w exactly and 39w6d, so it definitely didnt cause preterm labor for me. I did, however, have fairly quick labors both times (7 1/2 hours even with 4 hours pushing, and just over 2 hours). I dont know if there is a correlation or not.

I'd go with your instinct. Some people notice them more, some people have more, I think you'd know if something was really wrong. Figure out what's normal for you and go from there.
AlbertaJes's Avatar AlbertaJes
08:27 PM Liked: 5
#8 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 1,751
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I had frequent, irregular contractions during the second half of my pregnancy. Nothing painful, just tightenings. Sometimes it would last quite a while, but never actually did anything. DD was born at 41 weeks and 1 day.
<<<Scarlet>>>'s Avatar <<<Scarlet>>>
08:31 PM Liked: 5
#9 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 1,348
Joined: May 2005
BH don't mean preterm labor.
with #1 i was in a small car accident, and had a ultrasound to check for damage.
I had braxton hicks constantly.... like every 7m....
Those &%$^# kept me in the hospital for 3 days.
saying "do you feel any pain" constantly.
eventually after no "progress" meaning I didnt dialate, they sent me home.
doctors :

With my 3rd I felt my first BH before the 20th week, 18 maybe, anyway I remember being worried but then thought about what happened before and decided that if they got painful then I knew something was up...
TurboClaudia's Avatar TurboClaudia
10:25 PM Liked: 0
#10 of 30
09-07-2006 | Posts: 7,321
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with my first pregnancy, braxton hicks started coming noticeably at around 20 weeks. they got more intens and stronger after 28 weeks, happening for up to an hour (every 5-10 minutes, sometimes closer together) at least once a day. baby was born at 41 weeks 2 days.

with this second pregnant, i noticed braxton hicks beginning at around 14 weeks. they have gotten stronger and more intense since about 32 weeks, again happening for up to an hour (every 5-10 minutes, sometimes closer together) at least once a day but usually a couple times a day. usually, they happen for me later in the day. baby is still gestating at almost 38 weeks, and i'm feeling like this will also be a 41 weeks-ish baby.

poetesss's Avatar poetesss
12:35 AM Liked: 11
#11 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 769
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You mentioned one every couple of hours? Seems like no biggie...I get BHs all the time, my midwife was just like, "Oh, good, that means that you have a good communication system going on with the uterus/baby and pituitary gland." They also started fairly early with me as well. It usually happens when I have to pee...I don't know if the BH stimulates it or having to go stimulates the BH or what. Kind of a "which came first, chicken or the egg?" I guess...
RosesToys's Avatar RosesToys
04:41 AM Liked: 1
#12 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 247
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I started noticing BH before 20 weeks this pregnancy. I can't recall exactly when. My OB has said that if I notice more than 6 contractions an hour, that continue for two hours in a row and that don't go away when I lay down and drink water, then I need to call them. My doula says something similar, except that she really emphasizes that if you have 5 or 6 in an hour then you need to drop everything and get in the bathtub and hang out there while drinking a liter of water. Usually that will stop them, but if they do continue at the same rate, then you need to call the OB or midwife.

If you are only having one an hour, I wouldn't worry at all. I don't even pay much attention to mine most of the time. I did write down when I had one when it was convenient for a while (usually at night when I was reading in bed), and I could tell after several days that I wasn't having enough BH to worry about. Now I don't tend to worry about them as much because I know what my body is doing and it's ok. If I start to notice more BH than usual, I try to jot down the times when they occur so I can see if I'm having too many.
broodymama's Avatar broodymama
08:59 AM Liked: 43
#13 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 7,286
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I've had early & frequent BH with both of my pregnancies - had PTL with DS (4 cm dilated, 80% effaced then onto bedrest), none with DD.

On the other hand, I never had anything stronger than BH until transition with both births so I might not be the best person to answer you.
Piper's mama's Avatar Piper's mama
09:11 AM Liked: 0
#14 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 297
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It's totally normal! This is my 2nd pregnancy as well, and what you have to keep in mind is that because you have experienced all of this before, then you will actually feel everything sooner. (like you probably felt the baby kick much earlier this time). Think of BH's as your uterus taking it's daily run...it's exercising itself getting ready for birth. The only time you should be concerned is if you start having 4 or more in 1 hour. Because your uterus is a muscle, if it becomes dehydrated sometimes it will flex itself more often. So if you find you are experiencing more than 4 in an hour, don't freak out, just get a nice big glass of water and sit down and relax for a bit. We went over this a lot in my DDC because some of us 2nd/3rd/4th time mama's don't know when to give ourselves a break and were experiencing a few too many BH's :, so if they increase too much just think of it as your body saying "Hey Lady, slow down. I'm growing a baby here, give me a break". If you start having a bunch in an hour, and you drink water and have a rest and they don't stop or slow down within and hour or 2, then you need to call your Dr. or MW. Just remember, BH's aren't real contractions. Just practice. By all means you don't need to put yourself on bedrest again.
Mama, try not to worry too much
Mama2E&O's Avatar Mama2E&O
09:23 AM Liked: 1
#15 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 1,042
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I always start having braxton hicks very early- around 16 weeks- and I have never had preterm labor.
Peony's Avatar Peony
10:59 AM Liked: 1711
#16 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 15,918
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I've been feeling BH since about 20 weeks, they were very frequent, one after another, at one point, but have since slowed down a little.
NaomiLorelie's Avatar NaomiLorelie
11:44 AM Liked: 0
#17 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 2,180
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With my second and third pregnancy I started noticing BH at around 18 and 16 week respectably. I would get several in an hour at times. I never had any PT labor, although I always started thinning out and dialating early. I got a lot of the hard work done before I went into labor.
hopeful1's Avatar hopeful1
02:08 PM Liked: 0
#18 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 400
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I have BH on a fairly regular basis. I have at least one every couple of hours every day. It's perfectly normal and is absolutely no indication that you will go into preterm labor. In some instances it can indicate a uterine infection but that is NOT commonly the case. Sometimes if you over exert yourself it will bring them on. They're basically a workout for your uterus for the Main Event .
TurboClaudia's Avatar TurboClaudia
02:46 PM Liked: 0
#19 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 7,321
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dude, if i called my midwife every time i had more than 4 braxton hicks contractions in an hour, we'd have to get a family cell phone plan with all the phoning going on! it seems normal for me, and i try to take it easy when i notice them but sometimes it's just what my body is doing. so it could just be normal for you.

tangozulu's Avatar tangozulu
04:07 PM Liked: 15
#20 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 946
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I have lots and have noticed them earlier and more intensely with each pregnancy, including very early in this one (I'm 24 wks now). My kids were all 3 arrived on time, and I am sure this one will as well. HTH.
Neldavi's Avatar Neldavi (TS)
05:14 PM Liked: 11
#21 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 998
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Whew! Thanks so much for all your replies, NOONE I know in real life has had this and everyone always seems concerned, not to mention my mother : (who heard through a friend that I was having contractions already and called three times in a day to make sure I was OK).

I agree that one every couple of hours isn't much, but sometimes it's more, and last pregnancy it was definitely more, and I'm figuring they'll pick up in a few weeks.

Someone else mentioned that they never felt painful contractions until transition, that's kind of me too. At 39 1/2 weeks I was 4cm dilated and effaced some too I think, and I had a 5 hour labor (first baby), only 3 of which was painful, so those contractions were definitely doing something towards the end anyway.

Do you all think vaginal exams are helpful? Do you get them or do them yourself? I didn't have any from 32 to 39 1/2 weeks last time and my midwife said she didn't think they were a good idea *because* of all the contractions - might get things going. I kind of want to be reassured everything's still all closed up but any little change is going to worry me, not to mention that having them might stimulate things some - thoughts?
TurboClaudia's Avatar TurboClaudia
05:41 PM Liked: 0
#22 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 7,321
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with second and subsequent pregnancies, the cervix being dilated somewhat is very normal. i've felt my cervix myself during this pregnancy and it has been 2-3 cm open for pretty much the whole pregnancy. it's really posterior right now so i can't feel it well, but i do agree with your midwife that maybe leaving it alone would avoid the getting things going aspect.

Neldavi's Avatar Neldavi (TS)
06:51 PM Liked: 11
#23 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 998
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Originally Posted by TurboClaudia
with second and subsequent pregnancies, the cervix being dilated somewhat is very normal. i've felt my cervix myself during this pregnancy and it has been 2-3 cm open for pretty much the whole pregnancy. it's really posterior right now so i can't feel it well, but i do agree with your midwife that maybe leaving it alone would avoid the getting things going aspect.

That's good to know. I won't freak out if I'm 2 cm dilated then.
stacey0402's Avatar stacey0402
11:10 PM Liked: 0
#24 of 30
09-08-2006 | Posts: 3,137
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I have an irritable uterus (that's what the doctor called it). I contract often and in both pregnancies they started in the 2nd trimester...around 24wks. I could make myself have them if I held urine or exercised. They never created cervical change, so I didn't worry about them. Dd1 was born a day late, and dd2 was born 11 days early.
Kerriemoe's Avatar Kerriemoe
09:35 PM Liked: 0
#25 of 30
09-16-2006 | Posts: 342
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I began getting them very early this time: 15 weeks, and I'd be getting more than 4 an hour--they were coming about every 7 or 8 minutes at first! Believe me, I was totally panicked. It's happened on and off over the weeks, I'm now 30 weeks and they've pretty much settled down. I have them now and then, but not usually that frequent.

My midwife said to only call if they get painful and feel like menstrual cramps, across my lower belly or back. Also, to do the opposite of what I've been doing. If I've been active, to sit down and put my feet up, drink a couple cups of water. If I've been sitting on my butt, to get up and take a walk, and drink some water. And try not to worry about it (nearly impossible, I know!) but I've found when I manage to distract myself they do go away.

Good luck!
daniedb's Avatar daniedb
09:56 PM Liked: 21
#26 of 30
09-16-2006 | Posts: 2,336
Joined: Aug 2004
With Henry, most days I had contractions between 4-10 x per hour every hour. We were in and out of outpatient triage, getting shots of terbutaline...it sucked. They checked me all the time, and I never dilated nor did I efface one single bit. I knew my ovulation date, so my EDD was quite accurate...but I still went 6 days past it! My boy was quite content in there.

This time, I've had a much less irritable uterus. There are still days when I have what might be seen as "too many" contractions, but now that I've BTDT, I know the difference, and my doc has really encouraged me to listen to my body and myself and I have! It's much more relaxed this time around, thank goodness!
tresleo's Avatar tresleo
10:39 PM Liked: 25
#27 of 30
09-16-2006 | Posts: 2,577
Joined: Mar 2004
I had them starting at 13 weeks with my third. Everything was fine! I know its normal to have them earlier and more often with subsequent pregnancies, but my third was really the only one that started in my second trimester.
zjande's Avatar zjande
08:29 PM Liked: 209
#28 of 30
09-17-2006 | Posts: 5,195
Joined: Nov 2002
I understand your stress, believe me!
I have one of the most sensitive uterus' in the universe.

First pregnancy: CX started at about 18 weeks & I progressively had a greater # per day as my pg went on. I was eventually put on bedrest & Terbutaline due to them. My dd was born during my 3rd premature labor, at 35 weeks. She had a severe intestinal defect that required major surgery, which I have always believed led to her being born early (she would've been stillborn if born at term), NOT my crazy# of CX.

2nd pg: CX started up at 11 weeks. I had several a day through my 2nd trimester & then several per hour my entire 3rd tri. The OB suggested bedrest & was all freaked out about my other premature labor. My 2nd baby was born 3 days after his edd, perfectly healthy.

3rd pg: CX started up at 10 weeks, & I wasn't surprised. *EVerything* makes me contract when I'm pg- tight clothes, the seat belt, having to pee, anyone pushing on my belly, sex, laying flat on my back, walking up/down stairs, doing absolutely nothing. My MW was concerned & had me monitored at the hosp. a few times. I contracted every 7-9 mins. constantly!! I wasn't concerned though. AFter 3 pregnancies full of nonstop CX-- I knew what real labor felt like & those were never it. My 3rd baby was born 3 days after his edd as well, perfectly healthy.

My BH CX are extremely annoying, & often pretty freaking painful. I'm already dreading another 6 mos of them when we TTC in a couple months. But I'd choose irritable uterus over hyperemisis anyday, lemme tell ya!

Re vaginal exams, personally I say get them only if they help put your mind at ease. I did get a few done during my last tri because there were days that I would spend the entire day contracting every 10 mins & I thought I'd get a quick check "just to be sure", & it did always put my mind at ease to learn that all those CX weren't doing anything but giving my uterus a workout. It's really weird contracting all the time... even though I was pretty confident that I'd go to term & my body's just wierd, I'd still have moments of concern & get a check.

ANYWAY, I'll stop blabbing about myself now.
ilovemykids's Avatar ilovemykids
10:40 PM Liked: 0
#29 of 30
09-17-2006 | Posts: 20
Joined: Aug 2006
This is definitely me!! I started having them every few min apart starting at 22 weeks. No cervical changes, just contractions. I've been having them say every 2-3 min apart for more than 20+ hours with no cervical changes. I am at 3 cm. but this is also my third child. I'm so frustrated. These are painful contractions some I have to breathe through. Some women just do this or have what they call "irritable uterus". Whatever it is, it SUCKS!! :
Summerland's Avatar Summerland
05:20 AM Liked: 0
#30 of 30
09-20-2006 | Posts: 602
Joined: Aug 2005
last time i dident get them until 30 weeks plus, this time it was somewhere around 12 weeks, try not to worry
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