Braxton Hicks Contractions & Real Contraction: What’s the Difference?

Braxton Hicks Contractions

The appearance of the Braxton Hicks contractions of the uterus is quite a normal phenomenon faced during the pregnancy. The result of their appearance, most commonly is seen in tightening of the uterus muscles. Often these contractions are called false contractions because differ from the real ones, when the time for the childbirth has come. The Braxton’s name is coming by the Dr. John Braxton Hicks, who in 1872 described these contractions.

What Are Braxton Hicks Contractions?

The so called “false contractions” can appear in the sixth week of the pregnancy, but their intensity in this early stage is so low, so you probably are not going to feel them. Already in the 28th week of pregnancy, it is possible to feel, but the intensity of the contractions is still very small, and the interval of their appearance is irregular. Of course, this can be daunting at first, but do not worry, your uterus just getting ready for delivery. When these contractions occur, which many have called them “practice contractions”, occurs tightening the muscles of the uterus for about 30 to 60 seconds, or more rarely, up to two minutes.

What Are The Signs Of Braxton Hicks Contractions?

There is a difference between the real contraction and Braxton Hicks contractions. Here’s how to distinguish between.

Braxton Contractions:

  • Occur rarely, sometimes can be felt once or twice during the day.
  • They are usually irregular.
  • They are short and usually stop if the current action that is practiced is reversed (if walking, take a brief stop or if you sit, try to move a little).
  • They don’t have great intensity and are very unpredictable.

Real contractions differ from false contractions mainly in terms of frequencies, duration of contractions and certainly their intensity. They are:

  • Much more painful.
  • With increased intensity.
  • Often appear and last longer.

What Triggers Braxton Hicks Contractions?

The reason behind the occurrence of this type of contractions usually stands behind the following facts:

  • When the mother is too active.
  • When the baby is too active in the uterus.
  • If the mother is dehydrated.
  • Very often, after practicing sex, there is a possibility of this type of contractions.
  • If the mother’s bladder is full.

How Will Braxton Hicks Contractions Affect My Baby?

Braxton Hicks Contractions Affect My Baby

In most cases, Braxton Hicks contractions have no effect on the baby itself, certainly if not come to premature birth. As many doctors have stated, these contractions toning the uterus and allow better blood flow to the placenta. Thus, they are good contractions because they help your baby.

What Can I Do To Relieve Braxton Hicks Contractions?

The good thing with these contractions that can easily get rid of them, if that cause discomfort increased. As the features that you are left available are:


  • Change the position you are in. Try to find a position in which you feel comfortable. Lie down on the bed; get moving slowly or anything else that will help.
  • Knowing that the reason for their appearance can be dehydration of the body, try to drink water.
  • Relax in a hot bath.
  • Drink a cup of milk or hot tea.

How Can I Prevent Braxton Hicks Contractions?

In fact, avoidance of these contractions is impossible. They are normal for this time of pregnancy and are a kind of preparation for the actual contractions. The positive side of the occurrence of these contractions is that you can practice your breathing and to prepare for the moment you bring your little one in the world.

You May Also Like: Tips for Healthy Pregnancy

Are There Any Tests For Braxton Hicks Contractions?

Tests For Braxton Hicks Contractions

In most cases, there is no need to do any tests associated with these contractions. However, if you are too worried or your doctor decides that maybe these contractions can lead to premature delivery, as the test is monitoring of the fetus by measuring the contractions and the following the baby’s heartbeat.

Must Watch: Nurse Dani Explains Difference Between Braxton Hicks Contractions And Real Contractions

What Do Other Pregnant Moms Do When They Have Braxton Hicks Contractions?

Every mother is different handles Braxton Hicks contractions. However, most of them feel the tightening of the uterus. What most of them do is to change the position in which they are located; drinking a glass of water also works well for many of them. What is important is to find a position in which you feel comfortable.

You May Also Like: Health Problems Encounter During Pregnancy


Pregnancy is a great time in which to awaken motherhood in women. The appearance of contractions and the hits by the baby is wearing a smile on the faces of many mothers. Braxton contractions are safe, short-term and often not painful, but only give a feeling of discomfort. However, if their intensity or the pain is increased, do not hesitate to contact your doctor, even if it turns out that there was no cause for concern.


Take Action: Support Consumer Health Digest by linking to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (Click to copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.


Contributor : Fouzia Khan (Consumer Health Digest)

Fouzia Khan is a graduate from University of Lethbridge. She has years of teaching and research experience in Computer Science and Engineering. Apart from teaching she is passionate about conducting research, writing, and sharing new innovations of science with others.

View All