Braxton Hicks contractions

Throughout your second and third trimesters of pregnancy, you may experience occasional, painless contractions — a sensation that your uterus is tightening and relaxing. They're especially noticeable when you place your hand on your abdomen. These are called Braxton-Hicks contractions, and they're your body's way of warming up for labor. Your uterus is exercising its muscle mass to build strength for the big job ahead: labor and the birth of your child.

As you approach your due date, these contractions typically become stronger and may even become painful at times. Sometimes, Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are also called false labor pains, are mistaken for true labor. However, Braxton-Hicks contractions are irregular and often cease if you rest. True labor pains come at regular intervals, increasing in strength and intensity, regardless of your activity.

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