She Says… Braxton Hicks

A few weeks ago, I remember reading in my countless baby books that I might begin to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. The books and websites all said something to the effect of, “They won’t hurt, it’s just your body practicing for labor. If you have more than 4 an hour and/or they hurt, call your doctor.” And so I waited. Sort of like when I read that I might begin to feel the baby move and I debated whether each twinge and tickle was the baby or just gas, I began to wonder what a Braxton Hicks contraction feels like and if I would ever feel one. At my checkup every two weeks my doctor would ask, “Have you felt any Braxton Hicks contractions yet?”. My answer was generally, “Ummm, I’m not sure, I don’t really know what they feel like… so… no?”.

A week or two ago I got my answer. My doc told me it feels like your whole stomach has gone hard as a rock. Perhaps that has been happening  for awhile, but I only started really noticing it recently. Not only does my stomach go rock solid (which is a very strange sensation, both from the outside and the inside), but I also feel this achey, crampy kind of feeling in my lower abdomen where my uterus (and normal menstrual cramps) used to be. It’s not painful, persay, but I find it to be a strange and unusual feeling. And at the end of the day when my body is tired from a long day of commuting/being at work, I can feel them even more acutely. Last night I actually said to Benjamin, “My uterus is TIRED.” Really? How could I possible know if my uterus is tired? But that’s what it feels like.

I’ve also read that in a few short weeks the baby will descend to get into a better position in the birth canal. Believe me, by the time I get to the T in the morning (after walking about a mile from my house), I feel like the baby has already descended so far that he’s pressing against my pubic bone! Gravity, I tell you. I can’t imagine what he’ll feel like when he actually does descend.

For all the ladies who have been pregnant, did you have Braxton Hicks? What did they feel like? Did you feel your baby descend?

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18 responses to “She Says… Braxton Hicks

  1. Thanks for describing braxton-hicks. I haven’t heard anyone give a good description, and since I haven’t felt any yet, I had no idea what to expect.

    Crazy how gravity works on a pregnant body- my legs are more tired and my belly seems to weigh a ton!

  2. No Braxton Hicks yet for me, but I’m glad that it’s almost “expected” so that I won’t panic if it does! I definitely get a HUGE amount of pressure “down there” especially if I’ve walked any real distance and/or I have to pee. It’s really uncomfortable and I feel like the baby is ready to enter the birth canal! lol I think we’re going to get a big surprise when it actually happens and we’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah THAT’s what it really feels like!” lol

  3. I’ve never had any contractions that I’ve been aware of, but my dr. told me that I must be having them given my *progress* Now if only labor could be as unobvious!

  4. jeneandliss

    I didn’t feel any Braxton-Hicks contractions at all, and I didn’t feel my baby descend, either. Actually, at my weekly appointment on a Friday at 39 weeks, he had only gone once centimetre past zero station, so I thought I had ages. But he arrived in a four-hour hurry, two days later on Monday morning! I went from no signs of labour to, bam, a baby. :P

    And I’m with you on the pelvic pressure… that was incredibly uncomfortable for me.

    Sorry to just jump in, I hardly ever comment, but I follow along every day!

  5. I don’t think I ever had any Braxton Hicks. I had some friends describe them exactly as you have, so I assume I would have noticed if I had them. Who knows though, with all the bedrest drama, I was rather preoccupied!

  6. great description! i’ve felt hardening, but i keep thinking it’s the baby moving closer to the surface…so i guess i still dont know if i’ve had any!

  7. I had BH contractions A LOT during my last month. I was actually one of those lucky people to be in early labor for almost 3 weeks before giving birth (meaning I had untimeable contractions and some dilation, but no baby). BH contractions shouldn’t hurt…at first. Once you get to 37 weeks, I found they got much more intense. I also felt period-like cramping often.

    When you get BH before 37 weeks, it’s always a good idea to pour yourself a big glass of water and put your feet up. That’s the best way to deal with them. I also found that sitting on an exercise ball helped my back pain that came with the cramping.

    For what it’s worth, I never had the all over belly tightening feeling. My belly was always hard since I had such a huge baby shoved in there :)

  8. Oh, and also I could tell when the baby “dropped” because of the feeling of pressure on my bladder. I always felt like I had to go, even just after I just went. Also, when I walked, I could feel pressure, like a bowling ball was between my legs. That was her ginormous head :)

  9. I had BH’s…the feeling ranged from annoying cramps to my stomach tightening so much you’d swear I could bounce a quarter off of it (alas, I could not) to loads of twinges, aches, pressure and pain down in my lady parts.

    Hang in there! :D

  10. I had them with both babies – but they were much milder and more infrequent with my first. I always said it felt like when you flex your bicep, except it was your uterus and was involuntary.

    I never felt baby “drop,” but I remember that pressure down there – especially after a long walk.

  11. I had them with my Little Man, probably for the last 6 plus weeks of my pregnancy (and I was 2 weeks early). I don’t know if my job had anything to do with it (I’m a PT and was on my feet ALL day, every day). But it pretty much just felt like my belly got hard as a rock. And it was pretty frequent over that time period.

  12. That’s exactly the way my doc described them. I have been having them for about a week. I have at least one a day! Glorious!

  13. I had Braxton Hicks earlier than usual, and they continued on. I think they’re a good sign; by the time I went into labor, my body was super-ready, and it only took 6 hrs. start to finish!

  14. I’m freaking out about these! My midwife asked me about them at my last appointment and I was like “am I supposed to?”. I’m hitting my third trimester now and wondering if it really is that time!

  15. Wanted to add this: you will definitely be able to tell the difference between Braxton-Hicks and the real thing when the time comes. I didn’t know if I would… I promise, you will.

  16. I had tons of Braxton-Hicks all three times. They were earlier and more pronounced each time too. I’m also one of those lucky few that would drop into and out of active labor for hours on end. I was never sure when to head to the hospital. With the first I was there forever. By the last one, we had less than a half hour to spare! As for the pressure, it was pretty gradual for me.

  17. I don’t think I’ve had many. Earlier in the pregnancy my belly would have days when it was super hard, but there were no cramps. I just felt like a balloon was blowing up bigger and bigger inside. In the past few days (but not every single day), I’ve had occasional small period-like cramps. As of my appt last Friday he was “low” but not “engaged”. With only 11 days left I wonder if I’ll feel a drop. I’m also 5’1″, and honestly I don’t think there’s enough room in there for him to drop enough that I would notice a release in pressure on my ribs/lungs. But that would sure be nice!

  18. I definitely had BH and no, they didn’t hurt. Just felt tight, like you said. And no, I didn’t feel the baby drop. I remember being really surprised at one of my appointments when the doctor told me that the baby dropped. I was like, “really? when did THAT happen?” :)

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