Braxton Hicks contractions (BHC) are unpredictable aches and loosening of the uterine muscle. Occasionally, they are described as prodromal or “fake labor” spasms. They are assumed to begin gestation for approximately six weeks but are typically not felt until the second or third session of the prenatal period. Contractions from Braxton Hicks are ways for the body to prepare for actual labour, but they do not mean that work has started or is about to begin.
A common component of pregnancy is BHC. They can be awkward, but they’re not painful. Women characterize BHC as feeling like mild menstrual cramps or a tightening in a particular region of the abdomen that happens repeatedly.
It is possible to distinguish BHC from the contractions of real labour. In span and strength, BHC are sporadic, occur infrequently, unpredictable and non-rhythmic, and are more unpleasant than painful. BHC do not increase in the rate of occurrence, span, or severity, unlike real labour contractions. They also fade and then vanish, only to reappear in the future at some point. The frequency and tension of these contractions begin to shoot up towards the end of the pregnancy. Women frequently mistake BHC for real labour. Nonetheless, BHC do not bring about dilatation of the cervix and do not end up in birth, unlike real labour contractions.