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Braxton Hicks anyone???

6296 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  cottonwood
Whoa boy...In the last week I have been getting BH contractions a little too hard for my own liking. and fairly often. Not anything to worry about often but I don't remember getting these until the eighth or ninth month with my first. I feel sorry for the little one in there when it happens! It's already a tight little sqyueeze...

Anyone else feeling them sooner than the first or just at all?
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I've been getting them for at least 2 months, I think. However, if I have several, or if they are strong, I drink a ton of water and hie me to a place to sit down and relax. It seems, at times, to be my body's way of telling me I'm overdoing it.
Funny you should ask... I just saw my ob and told him I was feeling really Braxton-Hick-y. "You mean, you feel a tightening of the uterus, then a slow release? Maybe another one an hour later?" he asked.

"Yeah, sort of. Except I get one every several minutes."

"Uh... that's not Braxton-Hicks. That sounds like pre-labor."

Anyway, I'm not exactly on bed rest, but DH (who is a doctor, God help me) won't let me do anything...not even carry my own purse - lol! I'm really not good about slowing down, but since I have to take it easy, I might be hanging out on these boards quite a bit more!

first baby due September 7
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Kelly, with all due respect... those are Braxton-Hicks! "True" contractions combine the uterus tightening with crampiness in the lower uterus or lower back, which radiates around. Persistant crampiness or lower back pain combined with uterine tightening can be a sign of pre-labor.

Believe me, I've been pregnant several times. Prelabor cntx feel different from BH cntx. I wouldn't expect your male dr. to know the difference, though! ; )
I've been getting Braxton-Hicks contractions in the evenings and it tells me that it's time for me to knock off working and go rest.

Luckily the nurses here at camp (well, everyone, but esp those three!) are all behind me and if they see me massaging my belly or the like they send me away!

Thanks for that bit of info, plantmommy (love that username!). I haven't a CLUE what it is that I'm feeling. The first few times I felt a "tightening" (BH or true contraction or whatever), I thought the baby was dropping. It just felt so weird!

Anyway, what I'm feeling is just persistent, frequent tightening. Otherwise, I feel fine. This past weekend I was helping to clear and chip nine or ten trees from our property, and then we went walking for couple of miles on the beach. Okay, that might have been too much.
But, other than feeling peculiar, the BH contractions don't bother me at all!

Still, DH wanted to mention them at today's office visit. I normally see the nurse-midwife, but today we were supposed to meet the back-up OB. Now I'm supposed to have another ultrasound to check cervical length and possibly another test to detect proteins from my cervix??? OB is worried that I'm having pre-labor without the pain, which according to him, can happen to a lot of women.

*sigh* Taking it easy is going to drive me mad, but everyone's in a tizzy about how often these contractions come when I'm doing my thing.

I don't mean to go on-and-on. Bellasmum and plantmommy, what are your contractions feeling like?

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Bellasmum - This is my 2nd too, and I'm having a lot more Braxton-Hicks than I did with my first. I think it is because I have to get a lot more done now just chasing after ds, and am not taking it easy as much as I was able to the first time.

Kelly - try staying superhydrated and see if that helps with the BH. If I am very concious of drinking, drinking, drinking I am able to physically exert myself a reasonable amount without having them start. If I do get a couple, I remind myself to sit down for a little bit and drink more water.
The BH cntx feel just like you described; the muscles of your uterus get tight, turning it into a hard ball. It's like someone wrapped a towel around your middle, and is twisting it tight or something. It can start at the top of the uterus and work it's way down, but not always. It can cause a shortness of breath. It can make you need to stop whatever you're doing for a few minutes.

I think up to 4-6 an hour is considered ok, but if it's hour after hour, or very often, then drink a quart of water and put your feet up!

Like I said above, BH cntx can sometimes affect the cervix, which is why you should drink a ton of fluids and rest if you're getting a ton of them, but more often it's just your body saying "slow down", and having them occasionally is normal, it's just your uterus "practicing.

Usually, if I'm getting a lot of them, I just drink a bunch of water. Hydration is important.

I WISH though, that real cntx weren't painful! Hah! Real cntx feel like bh cntx, but with the added bonus of bad menstrual-type cramping.
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Hmmm... plantmommy, what you're describing is pretty much how I'm feeling, only mine start quite low and work up and around. I do try to drink lots of water, but sitting around drives me a bit batty. My contractions go away when I rest, but they can come on pretty strong if I'm working... lately, even if I'm just standing and walking around.

However, I don't think I'm getting more than 4-6 an hour. If 4-6 an hour is normal Braxton-Hicks, then I'm going to be a little pissy about DH and OB's reaction.
: I mean, he wants me to call him as soon as I have 3 contractions within 1 hour so I can get tested.

Like I said, I feel fine during these contractions. They don't bother me, and I like being active. But I do NOT like unnecessary medical tests or a whole bunch of medical scrutiny. And both men have me a little freaked out about the possibility of pre-term labor and what a premature birth would mean for my baby.

I've always thought that BH was just totally normal, a way of the uterus getting ready, and not something one had to avoid.

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Originally Posted by plantmommy
I WISH though, that real cntx weren't painful! Hah! Real cntx feel like bh cntx, but with the added bonus of bad menstrual-type cramping.
Isn't that the truth!! :LOL And don't forget the ache in the small of your back.

Hi Kelly-

Great to see you over here.

(I had this nice long post typed out and then IE had to crash on me.

I agree that those definitely sound like B-H. I had them for 3+ months with my DD. I didnt' even realize that I was having B-Hs I just thought it was the muscles reacting to DD pushing various body part outward. It was wild to see her constantly stretching her arms and legs out for several months after she was born and realizing that THAT is what she was doing in utero.
Oh, she was born on her due date. In hindsight, I was doing way too much, working 60+ hours.

It is your body's way of saying... SIT DOWN, you are doing to much.
Drink lots of water and put your feet up. Surf the web.
Read and post here.

I had them for about 2+ weeks with my DS. He was born the day after his "due date".

Just relax and try to take it easy when they get more often than 4x an hour. Basically if they happen every 10 minutes... then you should really take it easy, if that continues for more than 2-3 hours... then you should "consider" having the stress test. Especially if you are resting and they continue. Also if they are very regular (ie can almost time them).

My original OB (with DD) was a very cautious OB and she put me on bedrest at 30 weeks. I think part of it was because the practice she worked in was a fertility clinic (I didn't know that at the time I found her in my insurance booklet) and they had a large percentage of "high risk" pregnancies. And of course I was "old" at 30.
After I was put on bedrest and subsequent medical leave... I moved back to Houston where DH was (I was working in Dallas at the time). I went to see my current (and long time... since High School) OB and he was like just take it easy and drink more fluids. Relax and enjoy yourself. Just be moderate.
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Kelly, can you buy or loan Dr. Sears' "The Pregnancy Book"?

He says, on page 355: "If you're in doubt about whether you're experiencing prelabor or labor cntx, apply the 1-5-1 formula: if your cntrx last for at least 1 minute, are 5 mins. (or less) apart, and continue for at least 1 hour, you are probably in labor."

I would be very concerned about the Ob wanting to do an invasive internal, which could potentially introduce bacteria into the uterus, or stimulate a sensitive cervix to begin ripening, just to CHA (cover his a**).

Trust your instincts! If it feels "normal" and they "don't bother" you, then tell this guy to keep his hands outta where they don't belong. Alarmist men!

Even three "true" cntx in an hour are not something to be concerned about.

My first labor started with cntx. 2 mins. apart. They didn't get closer together, they just got stronger. Over 19 hours. You will know when there's reason to be "concerned". You know your body better than the OB, and you know your body better than your dh does.
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Oh, you mamas are the best for giving me all this info and support!

bellasmum - I'm so sorry. I did not mean to hijack this thread, but I am learning and getting such reassurance.

mum2tori -
I made it over! I did check out the main chatty thread.
I've been meaning to say hi and introduce myself. So far, I've just been lurkin'.

plantmommy - Thanks for all the info!! I did read Sears, but it's back at the library. I'm going to be doing more research on this BH vs. pre-term labor thing.

You know, I just switched from a very sweet, but highly interventionist female OB to this midwife & OB team. All my interactions with the midwife have been awesome, and I've heard very good things about the OB. I just can't help but think that this OB is overreacting because my dh is a doctor too, and he's concerned that I'm overdoing things.

If it were up to me, I'd have a homebirth with a lay midwife, but we're far enough away from the nearest hospital that this idea freaks DH out. The compromise that I reached with DH is that I pick the OB, the hospital, the CBE (we took Bradley), and he learns how to be my HypnoBabies birth partner. He's really on board now with the goal of a natural birth, but his medical training still something I have to contend with every time I have the slightest little owie.

Anyway, I'm resting now (no more hauling logs - lol). I'm keeping an eye on these contractions and keeping my mouth shut. There's no way I''m doing an unnecessary battery of tests when just drinking some water and getting some rest will allay the whole issue!

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I have been having BH since about 17 weeks or so. I never had them with any other pregnancies.
It started out as a once a day thing, but now it's several times a day. Sometimes I get a menstrual carmpy feeling, and sometimes not.
At my appointment two weeks ago, they did an internal (which surprised me) and said my cervix was soft(it was the nurse practitioner), but when I went back the next day to have the OB check it, she said it is soft, but she wasn't too concerned seeing as how it is my 4th baby.

I have another appointment on Friday, and every two weeks after that.
I'm going to allow one more cervix check on Friday just to put my mind at ease, then no more until 37 weeks.
Kelly, when I read how much you were doing I said, whoa, out loud. I would be crippled from BH's if I did as much as you. It seems this pregnancy it doesn't take a lot to make them come, but I am taking it as a big sign to slow down and rest. Since I have been doing this, they have slowed down and aren't so hard. Plantmommy described it perfectly. It is a strong tightening, and my belly actually looks very different, it squeezes just where the baby is into a little ball. I find massage helps too.

But it sounds to me like your OB and DH are over reacting to something that IS normal. You are just doing too much. And I agree that drinking helps a lot too. And since it is summer, you will need to drink even more than you think.
Hi Kelly,

I just wanted to say that every woman's experience is different. What you are experiencing may be just BH, but it may also be preterm labor. It's better to be overly cautious than not cautious enough at this point. ITA with all the recommendations to stay VERY hydrated and not do so much. But I have to respectfully disagree with Plantmommy about the following:

"True" contractions combine the uterus tightening with crampiness in the lower uterus or lower back, which radiates around. Persistant crampiness or lower back pain combined with uterine tightening can be a sign of pre-labor.
You can have "true" contractions without the crampiness/pain. I had a completely painless labor with my DD up until I my water broke (and DD was born 1 and 1/2 hrs later). I had no pain whatsoever, just thought I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks. I just happened to have an appt. with my midwife that day and I let her check my cervix and I was at 7 cm!

This pregnancy I have been experiencing preterm labor since 23weeks (I'm 28.5 weeks now). Again the contractions have been painless, just uterine tighening. I wish they were "just Braxton Hicks", but I am effaced and dialating, so obviously they're not.

My point is not to discourage or scare you, but just to let you know that every woman's body "feels" contractions differently and there a lucky few of us who don't feel all the pain with the contractions. So please don't use the level of discomfort to distinguish between BH and real contractions.

Keep taking it easy and drinking lots of water. If you need some bedrest support, feel free to PM me. I've been on bedrest for 5 and 1/2 weeks so far.
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Kelly, when I read how much you were doing I said, whoa, out loud.
Yeah, I know, I know...
: I'm realizing that I've been just so pleased that my pregnancy has been so easy so far, that I'm getting way too cocky for my own good.
I've been taking good care of myself, but I felt that in return, I shouldn't have to slow down at all.

Thanks for bringing your perspective to this discussion. When I read that you have been on bedrest for 5 and 1/2 weeks, I was just in awe. Suddenly, I feel a little bratty for not wanting to simply slow down. I'm going to PM you. We have just about the same EDD.
I'm at 29 weeks today.

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So what do you all think about this: I haven't been having BH (aside from some low cramping for a couple days around 20 weeks, went away with rest and lots of water) but I have for the past several weeks been having this strange sensation when I'm peeing -- my vulva/vagina feels achey, but in a good way, and it feels good to bear down a bit. I've never had this happen before. Do you suppose I'm beginning to dilate? Baby is still up high, and nothing remotely resembling contractions, so I'm not worried about preterm labor. And intuitively I feel like everything is fine. It's just... unusual.
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