Braxton Hicks in a nutshell are contractions/cramps.
They can be felt anytime after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
They were named Braxton Hicks after the English doctor who first described them in 1872.
There is no need to be alarmed by them as another name for them is practise contractions of the uterus.
Some women will never experience them while some find they feel them often.
They are meant to be painless! They are like mild cramping, but for some they find them very uncomfortable.
My experience with Hicks was of discomfort!
I have had them on and off since about 6 months into the pregnancy. They have been very mild and after about 30 minutes go away.
That was until last week when I was woken at 6.30am with what I can only describe as a very strong period cramp in my tummy.
I tried changing positions but that didn’t seem to shift it so at about 9am when I could take it any longer I woke Adrian my husband and told him we needed to go to the shops!
Maybe a walk would help.
A slow walk to the shops seemed to ease the discomfort but they were still there in the background.
Back at home I started cooking to distract me. I had decided to cook up a pot of comfort food in the shape of a beef stew, dumplings and all.
Still not completely gone I had a hot shower and prepared to get on with the rest of the day. I had a Crossfit written exam to do. This was not going to be fun sitting an exam with contractions to distract me!
I managed to get through till 5pm trying to ignore them and then as quickly as they had come over me they were gone.
Why didn’t I panic about the Hicks well I knew they were too mild for real contractions and although they lasted all day long it seemed, they never got closer together or any stronger.
There are a few differences with Hicks and Real Contractions. Here are some of them.
Hicks Contractions Real Contractions
|Contractions don’t get closer together.||Contractions do get closer together.|
|Contractions don’t get stronger.||Contractions do get stronger.|
|Contractions tend to be felt only in the front.||Contractions tend to be felt all over.|
|Contractions don’t last longer.||Contractions do last longer.|
|Walking has no effect on the contractions.||Walking makes the contractions stronger.|
|Cervix doesn’t change with contractions.||Cervix opens and thins with contractions|