Also known as the “practice” or “fake” contractions, these types of contractions were named after John Braxton-Hicks (1823 – 1897), the English doctor who first identified the phenomenon in 1872. They usually start showing up in the second or third trimester as the body’s way of preparing itself for the birth process. In truth, they result from the muscular contractions in the uterus that also trigger the abdomen’s muscles to harden. It feels just like menstrual cramps. Some women get scared when they feel them, fearing they might be going into labor, but there are some differences between these and the real deal:

  • Braxton-Hicks contractions only happen sometimes throughout the day and without any regular pattern. When you’re actually in labor, you’ll feel more regular and painful contractions.
  • The “fake” ones are short and don’t become more intense. The real ones won’t stop once they start and only become more and more uncomfortable.
  • If you take a walk, rest, or change your position, the “practice” contractions tend to stop. They can start depending on the baby’s movements or position.
  • They usually affect the front part of the abdomen, while the real contractions can start in the back and eventually affect the entire bump.
  • Should you experience any intense pain, bleeding, or leaking of fluids through the vagina, contact your doctor immediately.