A Guide To Differentiating Between Braxton Hicks & Contractions

There are many things that pregnant women have to deal with, from morning sickness to swollen ankles. The further you get in your pregnancy, though, the more you will begin to worry about some of the symptoms you have. 

In the very last months of your pregnancy, you will undoubtedly begin worrying about labor. You might even get Braxton-Hicks contractions that will lead you to believe that you are about to have your baby. 

Here are some ways that you might be able to tell the difference between real and false labor



During the last trimester of your pregnancy, you might begin to experience Braxton-Hicks contractions. Especially for first-time mothers, Braxton-Hicks can feel like contractions and lead women to feel like they are in labor, especially for first-time mothers. 

Braxton-Hicks contractions tend to feel like real contractions and might even soften the cervix in the same way that normal contractions do, but they will ultimately not lead to the baby’s delivery. 


You will know if Braxton-Hicks contractions because they might come and go, they will not get more intense as time goes on, and they might go away if you change your position or empty your bladder. 

Real Labor


For most women, real contractions will start to arrive in the 40th week of their pregnancy. The top of your uterus tightening categorizes them because a hormone called oxytocin has been released. 

You will know that they are real contractions because you will feel the contractions getting more intense and closer together as time goes on. The contractions will be evenly spaced but will become more frequent as your labor progresses. 


Some other characteristics that you might see from real labor are; the mucus plug coming out, your water breaking, or feeling like the baby has moved further down in your belly. 

Bottom Line


Braxton-Hicks contractions can feel very much like real contractions and can cause concern for many women, but you should monitor the contractions before you panic too much about them. 

You should always consult with your doctor if you have any specific concerns to know that you are safe at all times. You must seek professional medical advice for these types of situations.

Written By:
Daniella Segell

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