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Anyone experienced "Irritable Uterus"?

(12 Posts)
atrcts Sat 18-May-13 11:33:59

Has anyone experienced irritable uterus that causes painful contractions every 3-4 minutes, and that feel like the "real thing" but doesn't actually change the cervix (no cervical dilation or shortening etc)?

If so I would be interested to hear how many weeks pregnant you were, and then when you actually gave birth (was it premature in the end or full term)?

Also, with regular contractions early on, how did you know when real labour started, because usually the advice is to visit labour and delivery suite when you're contracting every 3-4 minutes, but that would mean a daily visit with irritable uterus!!!!!

Is it simply that you won't know until the waters break? But by then isn't it too late for preventative measures or steroids to develop baby's lungs if they're premature?

Any experience with this gladly welcomed!

poshme Sat 18-May-13 11:36:14

Personally no experience but my sister had it. From I think, about 35 weeks. Was really uncomfortable for her-she was told to keep hydrated, and rest lots. She had to be induced at 40+10.

drcharliegirl Sat 18-May-13 11:37:19

Hi there
I've had on and off contractions every 5 minutes in the last stages of pregnancy, but have little or no advice to offer there. I would speak to your midwife about when she would want to be alerted to your symptoms - should avoid having to go in every other day.

Steroids can be given any time before a pre-term delivery but are most effective if 2 doses are given 12 hours apart. It doesn't depend on your waters breaking...

Hope that helps and good luck smile

OrlaKiely Sat 18-May-13 11:42:41


I was told I had this when I was about 36 weeks I think - can't remember exactly - 'contractions' kept me awake all night one night, but nothing had happened.

Thankfully it didn't continue so maybe it wasn't that. I gave birth about 3 days early, or possibly 2 weeks late (not quite sure on conception dates!) and I had no idea if it was kicking off or not, for most of the day, till around 10pm when I rang for assistance. He was born at 1am. This was third baby.
With the other two I knew when I was in labour both times, very obvious and pretty fast.

nananaps Sat 18-May-13 11:43:14

Hi, i had this from 30 weeks.
Only went to delivery suite twice with it as i got to recognise it and just sat on my lardy arse till it went, sometimes after an hour, sometimes 4-5 hours.

I think i can say that real contractions are much more powerful. These relating to irritable uterus stopped me in my tracks and did feel strong, but were pretty short lived tbh.

nb MUCH stronger than braxton hicks having said that.

OrlaKiely Sat 18-May-13 11:44:27

Fwiw when I got in I was about 6cm, my second labour had been about 3 hours, but I still had plenty of time, like an hour and a half after admission iyswim before he was born. It's a half hour drive from here to the hosp so I was worried beforehand but on the night it was all the time I knew, it was very painful and I had to stop talking on the phone when they were happening.

nananaps Sat 18-May-13 11:44:52

sorry, my baby was 3 weeks early due to hypertension.

atrcts Sat 18-May-13 12:49:08

Thanks all for your messages. The trouble I have with the idea that real contractions are more painful that braxton hicks is that they are the same level of discomfort that I had in my first birth (i was able to talk and only used paracetamol until I got stuck at 7 cm for 4hrs, then I used entonox) so I can't even go by that as a measure shock

The dr and midwife seemed to think that it would all die down but it's been going in for weeks already and in fact is getting stronger all the time, so I can't really go by that either. Yesterday it went on for almost 24 hours before I could get decent rest from ithmm, so it's not always just a few hours at a time.

Before going into hospital yesterday I drank 1.5 L in about 2 hours to check it wasn't dehydration (even though i usually drink around 2-2.5L every day). If anything that made it worse because the urge to pee was more intense and a full bladder made the contractions even more uncomfortable!

RoomForALittleOne Sat 18-May-13 13:33:50

I totally get where you're coming from. I went in at 27 weeks and was treated for threatened pre-term labour because I had a positive Actim Partus test and was contracting regularly. I didn't dilate but my cervix shortened and softened a lot. I've had irritable uterus since then (I 'm 32+2 today) It feels like my body doesn't quite know whether to relax or get this baby out. I went back in once because the contractions were more painful than normal and I had a feeling of pressure lower down than I'd had before. Basically the baby's head had engaged so it wasn't surprising that they felt different. I didn't want to go in but because I labour quickly when I get to the active labour stage, I've been told to err on the side of caution. Again, my cervix is shorter and softer and a little dilated but the contractions stopped. I now feel like I've been reduced to being an incubator because pretty much anything sets off these contractions and I'm high risk for pre-term delivery so they are concerned that a bout of irritable uterus contractions could turn into the real thing.

With my last pregnancy, I was treated for TPTL at 32+6 and then had irritable uterus until I delivered at 37+0. The only difference in the contractions was that I had an intense ache under my bump with them. Other than that there was no difference at all (apart from producing a baby and then they stopped!). IU contractions are no less painful than the real thing and are 100 times worse than braxton hicks. Just from looking at the CTG and feeling my bump to see how intense they were, I've had several doctors and midwives calling the neonatologists because this baby is about to put in an appearance hmm. I no longer have the words to describe how fed up I am.

FieryChipotle Sat 18-May-13 13:48:40

First pregnancy I had it from 35 weeks and second pregnancy (twins) from 30 weeks.

I went full term with the first one, but it turned out to be my appendix causing the contractions! I had it out within hours after birth!

With the twins, I never found out a reason but I did deliver early but this was unrelated to my uterus!

Hope it all goes well. You should continue to get checked though, better to be safe. Good luck! smile

willitbe Sun 19-May-13 16:14:47

I had irritable uterus with my first and my third pregnancies. Both times the irritable uterus landed me in hospital at 33 weeks with suspected prem labour, had the steroids to mature the babies lungs. First pregnancy arrived at 38 weeks the second one with irritable uterus arrived at 39 weeks.

I found that any walking (even a short distance) triggered my contractions, as did not drinking enough water.

What helped get me through was continually using the tens machine when I needed to walk (eg around supermarket). I would walk a short way, then once the contractions started I would use the tens machine, stopping and breathing through the contractions and using the boost on the tens until the contraction stopped, then I would continue my shopping!!!!

It never actually kick-started labour, I found that the contractions would calm down of their own accord with total rest (except when I has a UTI). I knew it was the real thing with my first because my mucus plug started to come away, and I realised that the contractions might actually start to achieve something!!! With the other labour, I had a few false trips to hospital, where rest did not ease the pain. When it finally did start, I did not know I was in labour, they did not feel like normal contractions, and ended as surprise home birth, but at 39 weeks it was not a prem birth!

I would say that it might be wise to on one of your trips to the hospital to see if they would give the steroids as a precaution. But otherwise, rest as much as you can, and be prepared for a few false alarm trips as needed.

StiffyByng Sun 19-May-13 16:27:33


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