Braxton Hicks vs. Real Contractions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 04:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm a first time mom (obviously!) and I have no idea how to tell what's what when it comes to contractions. I'm pretty sure I'm still having BH, but they are 'growing.' I used to only get fist sized contractions, then just the top half of my belly. Tonight I'm getting contractions that cover 3/4 and sometimes my whole belly.

I usually can't differentiate when they stop and start, so that makes me assume that they are still BH. They are constant, though. I've had a few while standing and it feels like I'll stretch my belly to stand up straight, so I stay bent over a bit.

Ideas?

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#2 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 04:21 AM
 
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How exciting! I am not sure because I have never had BH. My first time around I had no idea what to expect. Part of me thought I was going to be walking along and my baby was just going to fall out onto the side walk.

What you are describing sounds like early labor to me.
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#3 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 07:47 AM
 
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IME, "real" contractions are regular, you can definitely tell the begining and end, don't go away when you drink water or start walking. Take a good, long walk. If they start to become more regular, most likely you're in the start of labor. If they go away, they're most likely just helping your body get ready.

How exciting!
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#4 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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For me, BH were strictly my uterus -- it felt like my uterus was getting "hard". But it wasn't uncomfortable.

Labor contractions were lower down. Kind of a (sorry if kind of gross) combination of having to go poo really badly, menstrual cramps, and back ache. Kind of a clutching/cramping sensation. Didn't really hurt a lot at first, only after they got really regular and I was sure I was in labor did it get very uncomfortable.
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#5 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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My BH were my whole uterus getting hard, tense. My contractions were like very bad menstrual cramps, lower down where menstrual cramps would normally be.

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#6 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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I'm so excited for you! I would agree with what others say: take a walk, drink a couple glasses of water, see what happens. It does sound like early labor - just try to enjoy it and look forward to becoming a mama. If you can get rest that would be great. Try to eat healthy, protein filled snacks . . . Try to relax and focus on your upcoming birth! Keep us posted! (if you want )
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#7 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 07:29 PM
 
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This is my 2nd, but for my first I had a lot of BH ones and some of them were really intense. I KNEW when labour started. The contractions were like "holy SH$T that was intense, and sharp" from the very first one. Big big big difference. FOr me anyway, but I laboured really fast.
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#8 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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Trust me, you'll know the difference when you feel it.

I asked the same thing when I was expecting my first. I had BH all the time, but when I had my first labor contraction - whoa. Big difference.
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#9 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 07:58 PM
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you will know when real contractions start and end.they radiate from your lower back across your abdomen,last for 10 to 15 seconds and gradually get stronger and last longer.they are consistant,you will have real contractions in the first hour about every 10 minutes and they progress to to about every 5 minutes and so on,very uncomfortable to start,then very painful.
trust me i know,i have 5 kids.
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#10 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 08:04 PM
 
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I disagree with those who say you'll just know when they're labor. My labor started out totally painless. It was exactly like BH, except they were 4 minutes apart. They stayed 4 minutes apart all day long and just got more and more painful. After 12 hours, they were painful enough that I could no longer walk or talk through them and we went to the hospital. After another 8 hours, I wanted to shoot myself. They were still exactly 4 minutes apart.
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#11 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 08:16 PM
 
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My two births were different. DD1 I knew right away that something was going on. With DD2, I started having what felt like BH contractions one evening about 4 days before her EDD. They were mild and really didn't feel very different from what I had been experiencing throughout the pregnancy. What finally clued me in to the fact that this was the real thing was that when the first few contrax were over, they started up again a little later (maybe 15? 30? mins later). The other clue was that they did NOT go away when I laid down on my side, drank water or got into the tub. They were still mild, but as the evening wore on, they increased in frequency and a little in intensity such that I couldn't really sleep. She was born at 11AM the next day!

Everyone is different and every birth can be different. Do the opposite of what you are currently doing --> take a walk, take a bath, lie down, drink a lot of water, etc etc. If they continue, even at an uneven pace, you're probably getting ready!

Oh, I just remembered, with DD1 I had some regular contrax that felt like BH and got closer together over the course of a couple of hours - but it was early in the AM and I never got out of bed to walk around and see of they dissipated. It turned out not to be labor, but she was born three days later. You're getting there!

Good luck!
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#12 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
I disagree with those who say you'll just know when they're labor. My labor started out totally painless. It was exactly like BH, except they were 4 minutes apart. They stayed 4 minutes apart all day long and just got more and more painful. After 12 hours, they were painful enough that I could no longer walk or talk through them and we went to the hospital. After another 8 hours, I wanted to shoot myself. They were still exactly 4 minutes apart.

But you did finally figure out for yourself that you were in labor right?

We might not know we are in Early labor but I don't think we need to know if we are in early labor unless you have a long drive ahead. When planning a hospital birth most first time mothers arrive too early so not recognizing early labor could actually be a good thing. I can look back and say "Yes, I was probably in labor then" but I don't count it. I 'know' when I am in labor when the contractions have a zing to them. They do get more painful but those first few have a zing to them. I don't notice the tightening of my belly then just the pain low down. They make you sit up straight and you realize it was different. BH just feel like your belly is hugging you really really tightly (which can be painful in its own way).

Expecting #9.  Always busy hsing.
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#13 of 13 Old 02-10-2007, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses! I'm thinking that these are probably still braxton hicks, based on what I've read. It's not radiating pain, just like my whole uterus is tightening. My husband is in wonder that it doesn't explode when he feels how tight it is, lol.

I do think it's good that it's happening. I'm due soon, so my body is definitely getting ready.

DS1 2-17-07 DS2 1-1-09
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