Frequent Braxton Hicks Contractions are a sign that your body is preparing itself and your baby for labor. Your baby will release a hormone that triggers 1st Stage Labor. Warm-up contractions are one way your body lets your baby know the time to be born is drawing close. The actual squeezing prepares your baby for real contractions.
Braxton Hicks Contractions do not last as long as regular contractions. Generally speaking they last for 45 seconds or less. They are also irregular, occurring more than ten minutes apart on a varying basis from one every day to a couple per hour.
Braxton Hicks Contractions are like mini workouts and serve to tone your uterus so that it is ready for labor. During delivery, your uterus will be working hard for hours; first to open your cervix and then to expel your baby. You want your uterus to be up to the job!
Another benefit of Braxton Hicks Contractions is they often result in the early dilation of the cervix. Since they are virtually painless, its like getting a little dilation for free, so enjoy this early warm-up labor.
You may start noticing these warm-up contractions as early as you eighth month of pregnancy. Initially, you may feel a tightening of your abdomen. Or, you may not feel anything, but you will simply notice your stomach is hard, like a watermelon, for a few seconds. Over time this will progress until you feel a bit of cramping during pregnancy as these contractions become more frequent and stronger over time.
When you notice these contractions coming at regular intervals, say every ten minutes, it may mean that you are an
early stage of labor. Click here to read about the difference between
early labor and Braxton Hicks contractions. Click here for other
early signs of labor.