Uterine contractions, weak and irregular, occur throughout pregnancy. Some pointers worth a read:
- Out of nowhere belly-tightening and cramp-like sensation start to bother you.
- As quickly, there is a gradual release.
- If you place your hand on your abdomen you may feel a hardening and tightening of your uterus.
- In one line it can be described as contractions with the cervix remaining tightly closed.
- It can start as early as week 20 but gets more obvious around week 30 for many women. It may continue right up until the real act of labor begins.
- Many women start seeing Braxton Hicks as a form of practice to the real thing.
- Usually mild, in some cases it can get extreme causing pain and going on for hours at end.
Other factors at play here:
- Dehydration is a common culprit; drink more fluids
- Stress; try and relax and free your mind. Sometimes it can be due to no reason at all
- Check with your doctor if you have regular runs of contractions as they may be actually signs of premature labor.
Confused? The rule of the thumb to remember is that
- these contractions come and go
- they may last for long in extreme cases but disappear for a few hours or days.
Some sure signs that you are not experiencing actual labor are:
- your contractions are irregular
- your contractions are long and sporadic, as long as 10-20 minutes with no steady pattern
- contractions usually weaken or stop when you change positions
- contractions do not grow progressively stronger; they may weaken and disappear altogether
Ways to deal with it:
- Drink more water to prevent dehydration
- Rest when they start; lie down on your side for few minutes
- Get up and move around if they come when you are lying down
- Have a warm shower
- Take life easy; too much of activity or fatigue may trigger contractions
For some, these weak, sporadic contractions gain in strength and frequency as real labor approaches. This is your body's way of preparing the cervix to dilate and increase the blood circulation to the placenta.