painless contractions? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-01-2011, 03:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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FTM here, and I'm 38 weeks now. A few weeks ago I started getting cramps like period cramps and I thought those were contractions. But then a few days ago my belly started to tighten up (without cramps), and it's happening more frequently these days. So that means the previous cramps weren't really contractions, just cramps, and these ones happening now are contractions? They don't hurt or anything, just enough for me to notice the tightening goes on. They happen throughout the day although I tend to notice them more at night when I'm not moving around much, and they come a few times an hour or so. I am just wondering-- how long will this go on? And how do you know when real labor starts?


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#2 of 7 Old 06-01-2011, 03:28 AM
 
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They sound like Braxton-Hicks, which are (usually) painless "practice" contractions. Some women get them for months; often they're triggered by exercise or orgasm, but they can just happen at any time as well. They're a good thing, but don't expect them to herald incipient labour...


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#3 of 7 Old 06-01-2011, 06:07 AM
 
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Hmmm...I had been wondering about BH as well. I've had the twingy crampiness and wondered if that was BH. But I guess not. I have had a few times where I thought maybe my belly tightened a bit, but it was not uncomfortable at all so I thought maybe baby was just pushing out on my belly or something. Maybe it was BH after all then?


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#4 of 7 Old 06-01-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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Painless tightening is most likely Braxton Hicks, and cramping is just cramping, but it's all good stuff as your uterus is getting warmed up to do the big work ahead. In my own experience, it's when the cramping and the tightening started coming together in one "wave" or "rush" that I knew the contractions were the real deal and labor was beginning.


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#5 of 7 Old 06-01-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarefootinBrooklyn View Post

Painless tightening is most likely Braxton Hicks, and cramping is just cramping, but it's all good stuff as your uterus is getting warmed up to do the big work ahead. In my own experience, it's when the cramping and the tightening started coming together in one "wave" or "rush" that I knew the contractions were the real deal and labor was beginning.


Yup, that. That's how I could tell the difference between the BHs I was having and when the prodromal labor started (12 days ago now!) because there was the tightening of the BH contractions along with the crampy feeling and increased downward pressure on my cervix and stuff.

 

You can't always tell when you're "really" in labor though. With my first baby I thought I had indigestion because my stomach hurt. I was eating Tums like there was no tomorrow and wondering what in the world I had eaten, since I'd also had some really loose stools the whole night before. After about 2 hours I realized that the "indigestion" was kind of coming and going in waves every 10 minutes or so. And then I realized that I was probably having contractions.

 

What threw me off was all the books describing contractions as cramps that start low in your belly, like near your pubic bone, and move upward in a wave sort of thing. I never had that happen with 2 babies, but with this one the contractions are sort of like that.

 


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#6 of 7 Old 06-01-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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When I am cramping, I kind of assume it is round ligament pain--things stretching out and getting ready.  The painless or mildly painful ones are BH.  When they start and build to a peak and then subside is when they seem real to me.  A lot of what I have been getting lately is just tightening that hangs on for a while and doesn't increase or decrease in intensity.  Also, real contractions should form a sort of pattern and get longer, stronger, and closer together.  Although, I know not everyone does this, most do.  I hope that helps!

 


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#7 of 7 Old 06-01-2011, 02:03 PM
 
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I had painless BH contractions for months.  When they became very regular (every 5-7 minutes), in addition to losing my mucus plug and leaking clear fluid (water broken), I went in to my midwife to be checked and was at 3cm.  I had painless contractions all day, things didn't get intense until later that evening and my son was born at 3:30am.  So those painless contractions (just tightening) that felt the same as the BH I had been having for so long were actually being productive.  If my water hadn't broken, I wouldn't have even really known I was in labor, though I'm sure I would have been suspicious about the frequency and regularity of the contractions.  So if they are coming close together, maybe you could record them and ask your car provider (if you have one) what they think about it.

 

FWI, my son was born at 37 weeks, 2 days so we weren't really expecting him for at least 3 or 4 more weeks!

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