During the pregnancy, contractions are a normal part, but it’s what many pregnant women worry about. In the final stage of pregnancy, these are like body’s alarm clock, just like an alert for the pregnant women that they’re in labor. But, sometimes, they can be a false alarm which are actually Braxton-Hicks contractions. These false labor contractions leads to false sensation that one is having real contractions. These Braxton-Hicks contractions generally start in 3rd trimester of expectancy. There occurrences will be from time to time, and there is not any real pattern, but these may occur ore often the closer the due date is. They last from less than 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Signs of Braxton-Hicks contractions:
- they come and go
- they don’t get stronger or closer together
- they go away when you change position or empty your bladder
Real contractions happen when the body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which stimulates the uterus to contract. Signal that the body is in labor:
- For many women, real contractions start at around the 40th week of pregnancy.
- Contractions that begin before the 37th week can be classified as premature labor.
Real Contractions tighten the top part of the uterus to push the baby downward into the birth canal in preparation for delivery. Contraction schedule is like evenly spaced, and then time between them get reduced, also they get more intense and painful over time. True contractions begin at the back and spread towards abdomen. It differs in every woman. It feels like dull ache in back along with pressure in the pelvis. If regular contractions begin that result in cervical changes before 37 weeks of pregnancy, they are known to be preterm contractions. Changes in the cervix include both effacement and dilation that send you into preterm labor.
Even if water has broken, this will be generally instructed to wait till the contractions form a regular, close pattern before heading to the birthing room in the hospital. Keeping a track on the contractions is important because it will tell that which stage of labour it is as there are 3 different stages of labor- Early labor, active labor, and transition phase. From early phase to the last transition phase contractions occurrence changes from mild to intense. Duration is measured from the beginning of one contraction to the end of that contraction. Wait till two or three contractions at the regular intervals. Then it’s the real thing and then start timing them. Time the duration of a contraction by starting timer when a contraction starts and stopping the timer when the contraction ends. To time contractions, the easiest tools are baby contraction timers. There are 50+ apps in the store that act similar to the stopwatch function on your phone but may also track and display the contraction pattern and timing and don’t require you to do the math. The most important thing during contractions is to stay calm, take deep breaths, and start counting. Have a happy and safe delivery!