top of page

Is it Time? Braxton Hicks Contractions

It is Time? Braxton Hicks Contractions

Named for Dr. John Braxton Hicks, Braxton Hicks contractions are mild contractions felt during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. These types of contractions, often called “false contractions,” do not indicate that labor has truly begun.

Let’s learn about Braxton Hicks contractions and how to distinguish them from “real” contractions that signal that you are in labor.

What Do Braxton Hick Contractions Feel Like?

While Braxton Hicks contractions may start as early as 6 weeks, most women don’t feel them until the second or third trimester. Everyone has them, but for some people they are unnoticeable.

They are uncomfortable, but not painful. Most people describe them as being like a menstrual cramp or the tightening in one spot of the abdomen. They are irregular, infrequent, and unpredictable. They lessen, disappear, and return at a later time. This is unlike regular contractions which become more regular, longer and more intense in duration, and more frequent.

Should I Call My Doctor?

If you are concerned, you should always feel free to call your doctor, nurse, midwife, or doula. Before you call, time the length and frequency of the contractions. Your healthcare provider will most likely ask you these questions related to the contractions:

  • How often are you having them?

  • How long does each one last?

  • How strong are they?

  • Are they getting stronger?

  • Where do you feel the contraction?

  • If you change what you are doing, do they stop?

Important note: If you have bleeding, leaking fluid, strong contractions every 5 minutes for an hour, or a change in fetal movement, reach out to your provider immediately. These are red flags for a potentially more serious situation.

What Are Some Strategies for Relief?

While experts don’t know the cause for Braxton Hicks contractions, triggers may include being very active, lifting heavy objects, having a full bladder, sexual activity, and dehydration.

So, try having a snack, drinking water, relaxing by taking a hot bath or a nap, or changing your position or activity. Hopefully, this will give you some relief.

The Tennessee Family Doulas team would love to help you learn more about the changes your body will undergo during pregnancy. Sign up for a Childbirth Education class or talk with us about our Doulas support services.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page