How to Identify Contractions in Pregnancy

During pregnancy the woman may have several episodes of contractions, but not all of them represent the beginning of labor. Being able to identify contractions is very important for the woman to know when to go to the hospital or not.

Pregnancy contractions are characterized by:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen, as if it were a stronger than normal menstrual cramp;
  • Prick-shaped pain in the region of the vagina or in the back, as if it were a kidney crisis;
  • The belly becomes very hard during contraction, which lasts at most 1 minute at a time.

Contractions during the gestational period are important to train the uterus for the time of delivery, but the intensity and frequency determine whether they are training contractions, after 20 weeks of gestation, or specific to labor, after 37 weeks. .

Training Contractions – Braxton Hicks

Braxton Hicks contractions are training contractions, in which the belly or a part of it is momentarily very hard. Generally, this type of contractions appear around the 20th week of pregnancy, to prepare the uterus and the body for the moment of delivery.

Braxton Hicks contractions usually happen 3 to 4 times a day and can occur when the baby moves or kicks, decreasing with the mother’s rest or position change. They last less than 60 seconds and have no rhythm or pain.

In addition, these training contractions can cause slight discomfort in the pelvic area that does not extend to the back or another part of the body.

When to go to the hospital

The pregnant woman should call her obstetrician or go to the hospital in case of intense, frequent and rhythmic contractions, especially between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy or if these contractions are accompanied by pink or red discharge.

In these cases, the doctor may indicate rest and prescribe magnesium to prevent the contractions from causing labor ahead of time.

Labor contractions

Contractions that indicate the onset of labor are always accompanied by pain and do not decrease with rest. They can happen from 37 weeks of gestation, are regular and rhythmic, increase in intensity and appear initially every 20 minutes, progressing to a shorter interval of 15 minutes and then every 10 and 5 minutes.

When to go to the hospital

The pregnant woman should go to the hospital when the contractions take about 1 minute each and occur every 5 minutes because it is a sign that the baby will be born.

Leave a Comment