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Braxton Hicks question - how long can these go on for?

(5 Posts)
NewMummy5July2011 Thu 23-Jun-11 08:40:23

Hi

I'm 38 + 2 and for the past few days I have been getting what feel like braxton hicks but stronger. They have gone from tightenings to what feel like period cramps / crampy pain that can get awfully painful and I have to breathe slowly through them. I've had braxtons for ages, but these feel different to what I have been experiencing.

They seem to come on and feel quite regular for 1-2 hours, then seem to stop as suddenly as they start. Sometimes coming every 5-10 min and sometimes less.

I keep thinking 'is it time' then it isn't! What do these mean? Are these normal and could this be a sign that labour isn't too far away? Are they actually doing anything to my cervix? How will I know when it's the real thing?

Any advice or experiences greatly appreciated.

need40winks Thu 23-Jun-11 09:04:39

Hi, I'm not an expert by any means but I had Braxton Hicks from 20 weeks and I went to 40+10. Towards the end they got more feeling like contractions and at one point they went on every 6-8 minutes for 5 hours then stopped, and I too thought that it was time but it wasn't. I went for a sweep a few days after this and the midwife said my cervix was nowhere near ready, so not sure if it actually did anything to my cervix but they do apparently help get your body ready.

When the real contractions came they came hard and fast and I couldnt believe I had thought that the Braxtons could possibly be the real thing, believe people when they say you WILL know when it is real contractions. Sorry if this isnt what you wanted to hear, but don't forget everyone is different so although my experience says that this is not the start of labour for you it might be smile good luck, hope you don't have to wait too long to meet your bundle of joy :D

saldoozer Fri 24-Jun-11 08:38:16

I had braxton hicks in regular patterns and mild crampy pains for about 2 weeks before, the main difference when i finally went into proper labour at 40+11 was that I could not sleep through them and that the bath and paracetamol thing actually made them closer together not slow down.
A bit of hope for you though, my second stage was 20 mins (it was my first baby) so I think all the braxton hicks must of helped hmm

NewMummy5July2011 Fri 24-Jun-11 09:10:59

Thanks for the replies!! I guess I'll just have to patient and keep my fingers crossed that the real thing starts soon.

Saldoozer - hope my second stage is like yours!!

NorthLondonDoulas Fri 24-Jun-11 17:05:47

Im afraid there is no definite answer to that question, they vary from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy.

I have experienced braxton hicks with all four of my babies... i went from having very mild ones in the last couple of weeks of my first pregnancy to having them from 16 weeks in my last. With my last baby they got so strong and frequent in the last few weeks and days that sometimes i thought 'is this it?'

I think however when it is the real thing we all then do realise its labour. Generally in labour contractions start off dull and then build up. Also another tip is walking... In labour the more you walk around the more frequent the contractions become and a pattern will develop, they will also intensify but with braxton hicks the more you walk they generally die down.

Good luck and i hope you have a great labour.x

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