Preparing for the birth of your baby is an exciting time, one that comes with many new experiences and feelings. Emotionally, you might be feeling a little anxious about giving birth while also greatly anticipating finally getting to hold your precious newborn. Physically, you are probably experiencing a whole host of things- from mild discomfort, difficulty sleeping, frequent urination. And mild to moderate contractions. Knowing the different types of contractions you might experience during pregnancy can help you better prepare for what is to come.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
As you get further along in your pregnancy, you might begin to feel Braxton Hicks contractions. These are often sporadic and involve a tightening of the lower abdomen or groin area. They are usually painless and go away when you change position. Depending on your pain tolerance, they may not hurt at all and become more of a nuisance than anything.
Although not every woman experiences Braxton Hicks contractions, some women begin feeling them very early on in their pregnancy. As you progress through your pregnancy, you may begin to feel them more frequently or even in a bit of a pattern. Braxton Hicks contractions never usually last more than a minute or so, however. Changing your position, walking, drinking fluids, or practicing deep breathing exercises may help relieve the discomfort that comes along with these contractions.
Prodromal Labor Contractions
Often more intense than Braxton Hicks contractions, prodromal labor contractions do not change the cervix, despite their potency. Prodromal labor is also known as false labor, although women that experience it certainly may feel like it’s the real thing. It may begin a few hours or even a few weeks before active labor starts. And the contractions are usually more painful and more regular than Braxton Hicks contractions.
If this is a first-time pregnancy, it may be difficult for a soon-to-be mom to determine if she is in active labor or not while experiencing these types of contractions. Since they often follow a pattern and can be quite powerful, it’s best to check with your healthcare provider if you begin to encounter them. Oftentimes, the only way to distinguish between prodromal labor. And active labor is with a pelvic exam to see if the cervix is dilated at all.
Active Labor Contractions
The big moment is finally here. You’re about to meet your baby, but first, you must get through that pesky thing called active labor. Active labor contractions are exactly what they sound like. They are frequent, often coming one after the other during the later stages of labor. They require work to get through them- breathing exercises, position changes, and a lot of patience and strength.
One of the most difficult parts of the early stages of active labor is taking the time to write down each contraction. Thanks to modern technology, there are many different ways to track contractions with ease that don’t require a pen and paper. This gives you, and your partner, a chance to focus on important tasks like packing your hospital bag, driving to the hospital. And successfully working through each contraction.
Deciphering between the different types of contractions can seem like a daunting task at first. But once you are informed about what you can expect. And have a plan in place on how to handle the contractions, the process becomes much easier. Keeping in mind the ultimate goal of delivering a healthy, happy baby can also help ease the pain and discomfort of contractions. Holding your baby makes it all 100 percent worth it in the end.