You’re expecting a baby when you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your abdomen. Is this labor? Should you go to the hospital? Or is this Braxton Hicks, often referred to as “false labor”?
Although there are differences between Braxton Hicks and actual labor, it can often be difficult to tell them apart, which is why we always encourage our patients to call us if they aren’t sure.
“One of the most important things we want our patients to know is that there is a team of health care providers ready to answer any questions they have about Braxton Hicks or anything related to their pregnancy,” said Dr. Sonya Williams. “We’re also fortunate to have a knowledgeable, compassionate and helpful team of nurse midwives available for you.”
What Are Braxton Hicks Contractions?
These are irregular contractions of the uterus that may start in your fourth month of pregnancy. They are perfectly normal. Some describe it as a tight feeling in the abdominal area that comes and goes. Braxton Hicks contractions are your body’s way of preparing you for the act of labor. In fact, they may occur more often as you get closer to your due date.
What Is the Difference Between Braxton Hicks and Active Labor Pains?
Some differences include:
- Braxton Hicks contractions do not get closer together.
- Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular.
- Braxton Hicks contractions do not last as long as active labor pains. Active labor pains typically last from 30 to 70 seconds.
- Braxton Hicks contractions do not get more intense over time.
- Often, Braxton Hicks contractions can be alleviated when you change your position.
- Braxton Hicks contractions can often be alleviated with rest.
When In Doubt, Call Us!
Our first priority is helping you deliver a healthy child. “False alarms” are extremely common, and every labor experience is unique. Therefore, we encourage you to call us if you’re not sure if you’re in labor. If you have any questions about what to expect as you approach your due date, please let us know. Our doctors, nurses and wonderful midwives are here to serve you!
Chapel Hill OBGYN Offers Extensive Reproductive Services
We have treated generations of women, from those having their first gynecological exam to those entering menopause. For more than 40 years, we have been the provider of choice for extensive women’s health care. We have helped couples overcome the challenges of infertility and have delivered hundreds of healthy babies.
See how we combine the expertise of larger research facilities with the personalized experience of smaller practices. Schedule an appointment today.
Interested in learning more about labor and delivery? You’ll find the following information useful:
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.
Cleveland Clinic. “True vs. False Labor.” Online.
Mayo Clinic. “Signs of Labor.” Online.