For first-time moms to veteran moms, it is a known fact that EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT. This means from start to finish! At some point, whether out of excitement, pain, annoyance with pregnancy, expectant mothers are ready for D-Day (Delivery Day). However, some, especially first time mums can be a bit unclear as to the signs and symptoms leading up to this day and moment.
As a mother of now 4, I have to admit every labor was unique, never like the last, but with a few things consistent. With my last two pregnancies, I had Braxton hicks contractions (practice contractions where the uterus contracts irregularly) like I breathed air, sometimes so often and common, I had to have medications to stop them. Even with this last recent delivery (8/17/13), I still was a bit confused as to if this was the “REAL DEAL”. I’m going to break down the signs and symptoms of Braxton Hicks Contractions vs. Real Labor Contractions.
- Short, infrequent and most importantly irregular tightening of the uterus
- Pain is usually in the front
- Usually goes away if you change positions or take Tylenol
- Not “painful” really just annoying
- No changes in cervix
Real Labor Contractions
- Consistent, regular tightening of the uterus
- Pain typically begins in the lower back (like menstrual cramps) and works it’s way to the front
- Time between contractions gets closer and closer together
- Pain does NOT GO AWAY despite all efforts
If you suspect you are having Braxton Hicks Contractions
- Talke a walk, bath, shower
- Take Tylenol
- Lie on left side
- Drink water (dehydration most common cause of BH)
- Take a nap
If you suspect you are in true labor or unsure, call your healthcare provider for additional instructions, other signs that accompany true labor include
- Gush or leaking of fluids
- Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, urge to have a bowel movement
- 5 or more contractions in an hour about 10 minutes apart
While this is informational only, please always speak with your healthcare provider for definitive instructions. Trust your gut and you will eventually make it to delivery of your little one, possibly with some false alarms!