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Braxton Hicks Contractions Symptoms | Mother Rising

Braxton Hicks contractions symptoms can easily be mistaken for real labor contractions.

However, Braxton hicks contractions are practice contractions, but not labor.

My body LOVES to contract, and does lots of it before labor.

I remember being pregnant with my son, timing my Braxton Hicks contractions (they were 3-4 minutes apart) KNOWING I wasn’t in labor, but really relating with women who had never attended births before or who had never given birth themselves.

You see, since I am a doula I knew that I wasn’t in labor, but if I didn’t know any better I would have thought I was for sure in labor. Yeah, I wasn’t.

Braxton Hicks Contractions Symptoms

Not having Braxton Hicks contractions and wonder what they feel like? Worried your Braxton Hicks contractions symptoms might actually be labor?

When I get Braxton Hicks Contractions I feel…

  • Like my belly is hard as a rock… think abs of steel
  • Uncomfortable and have lots of pressure
  • The contraction on one side of my belly (typically)
  • The sensation concentrated up front in a smaller area. Whereas when I was in labor the first time I felt it in my back (like labor)
  • Contractions that don’t increase in strength and intensity… they’re just annoying.
  • Contractions that are close together, and even time-able. Sometimes they’ll be 5-10 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds. And yet, I’m not in labor.
  • Slightly dehydrated. If I drink A LOT of water and rest, they’ll space out or go away all together. (TIP: Carry a water bottle with you at all times! Or try some of these really awesome electrolyte cubes)
  • Fetal movement. Baby’s kicks get my uterus contracting!
  • Like they can be caused by me moving.
  • Like they can be caused by going to the bathroom or having sex.

I know some moms don’t have Braxton Hicks contractions symptoms, especially first time moms.

Honestly, BH can be so subtle you might not even know you’re having them. They could be mistaken for baby movement because a lot of the time they are triggered when baby moves.

Since my uterus is super excited about contracting, I had my midwife check my cervix to make sure nothing was happening. Nothing was abnormal, but I’m glad she checked me out.

Preterm labor is not a laughing matter! Off the top of my head, here are some red flags to look out for if you’re like me and have LOTS of Braxton Hicks contractions.

Preterm Labor Symptoms

  • bloody mucus
  • back ache
  • loose stools
  • abnormal pelvic pressure
  • gush of fluid from vagina
  • position changes don’t stop contractions
  • contractions get more intense and closer together

(Obviously, if your back hurts it doesn’t mean you’re in labor. But if you are having some of the other symptoms along with back labor contact your care provider ASAP!)

Signs of Labor – Is It Baby Time?

Not having Braxton Hicks contractions and wonder what they feel like? Worried your Braxton Hicks contractions symptoms might actually be labor?

One way to look at the onset of labor is by comparing it to becoming sick. Some people become sick quickly – they wake up in the middle of the night, throw up and immediately feel achey with a fever. It’s obvious that they are sick!

Others, may feel sniffly for a day or two, after that a mild sore throat sets in, but it’s not until a few days later that the energy levels drop and bed rest is needed. Looking back, it is easy to see when sickness began, but at the beginning, symptoms were so mild it was difficult to determine if it was sickness or just something else. It could very well have been allergies, but a few days in it became obvious that it was actually a virus.

Just like sickness, determining if it is baby time can be obvious or… NOT! Both, and everything in between is normal! Sometimes the best way to determine if you’re in labor is by hindsight – it’s 20/20!

Head on over here to read a list of the signs of labor to help determine if you’re in labor. Or not!

What About You?

Were you contracting all the time like me? Or was your uterus oddly quiet? I’d love to hear your story!


Sunday 20th of August 2017

I am pregnant with my first and I just had a day of Braxton hicks contractions. They ended about 2 hours ago and I'm almost 34 weeks. :) my stomach either gets really hard or I get mild cramps that feel like I'm on my period. Just annoying. One lasted 90 seconds!


Thursday 13th of August 2015

I Am 14 weeks pregnant with baby #2. I had no BH contractions my first pregnancy (that I felt, anyway) and ive been having BH for over a week this time around. My uterus is going crazy! They are random, not like clockwork by any means but I will have TONS of them in a day. They last sometimes over 2 minutes. I have noticed when riding (or driving) in the car they are more frequent and of course with more activity they come more often. Sometimes it seems like if i even move I'll have them and it gets frustrating at times. My poor husband, I can't even think about having sex! I'm contracting so often and it's so uncomfortable, I have a fear that sex will only increase the frequency. I also have had a very active baby on all my Ultrasounds he/she is bouncing around like crazy! I've heard that increases the amount as well. Hope this helps someone else. Good luck to all the preggo mama's


Saturday 21st of March 2015

I am so glad I read this before and remembered it this time around. I am pregnant with #2 and I didn't get braxton hicks last time around. Now I am getting them all the time. They don't hurt, but they make me uncomfortable and sometimes short of breath. They definitely are better or worse in certain positions and water does help. The frequency was really the only thing that made me nervous, but reading this makes me feel less paranoid and more sure I am not in labor. (Tell me if I am wrong and should be getting to L&D o.o)


Thursday 15th of January 2015

It's always good to hear that there are others who have an excitable uterus aswell. I have been having BH since I was 20 weeks, this is my second pregnancy. They are now like clockwork every 10 minutes, day and night. Different activities set them off, I find driving the commute to work has them going in over drive recently so will be stopping work. Obviously sex has a MASSIVE impact on them, to the point where I have been adviced to refrain since last time we ended up in the labour ward at 32 weeks pregnant thinking I was in labour.

Keeley Walker

Thursday 9th of January 2014

Exact same thing but my back has ached along with the BHs. I started having these contractions at 30 weeks and now I'm 34 weeks. My cervix is not dilated just thinning (70% effaced). I literally timed 10 in one hour just now and that's why I'm on here reading others experiences.