Braxton Hicks are horrendous to have. Imagine having severe labour pains that constantly come and go but don't result in you having a baby. Last week was my first experience of them in this pregnancy and I briefly wrote about it last week in my 23 week update and so I thought I'd talk about them a little bit.
What are Braxton Hicks?
Braxton Hicks are a mild contraction that start happening around the middle of your pregnancy. They don't usually affect you as much if it's your first baby but can get worse the more pregnancies you go through. They are basically the muscles of your uterus tightening (like a contraction) and are infrequent and non-rhythmic so totally different to a contraction on that score.
If you place your hands on your bump when you feel the pain coming on, you will feel how hard your uterus becomes and thus your bump will be hard too. Each pain usually lasts for about 30 seconds, and probably won't cause you any discomfort but sometimes they can be very strong and give labour type pains too.
In actual fact, your body has been contracting since you were about 7 weeks pregnant but it's so subtle that you cannot feel it. Braxton Hicks are just these contractions but more painful and as your uterus gets bigger, you are able to feel them more as they come on.
Braxton Hicks are not dangerous and are totally normal. They are basically, your bodies way of keeping your muscles working and toned ready for labour. But, if the pains become more frequent, stronger and last longer, it's best to call your midwife just to be on the safe side.
Last week, I had the most horrible case of Braxton Hicks, worse than I've ever had before. I had dropped Thomas off at school and was just popping upstairs to get changed before going out to get Christmas presents.
At the moment I got upstairs, a huge pain swept across the whole of my bump and pelvic area making me drop to the floor. It all seemed to be a daze. I remember being scrunched on the floor in pain, on and off, when my husband came running in the room in a panic. I tried getting off the floor but couldn't and in distress, I started feeling dizzy and tingly. My husband managed to get me onto the bed where I laid there for about 10 minutes sobbing and clutching my bump, until eventually, they wore off.
It all went really fast and I even remember at some point my husband asking if I needed the midwife or an ambulance, although I don't remember replying to him. Once they had wore off, I was totally fine. Like nothing had even happened. After a sit down and a drink, we still managed to go out shopping and I was fine.
It was a scary 10 minutes though that not only affected me but my husband also. I think, in that time, he realised just how much pregnancy can affect the mother.