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  • Writer's pictureLauren Richards

Understanding The Difference Between Braxton Hicks Contractions and Labor Contractions

When you’re pregnant, you will always be waiting for that moment when your little bundle of joy is going to make its grand appearance. Contractions are one of the biggest indicators that the time has come, but your pregnant body might be deceiving you. There are actually different kinds of contractions and not all of them mean that it is time for your baby to be born. In this article, we will discuss the difference between Braxton Hicks's contractions and labor contractions.

What Are Labor Contractions?

Labor contractions are caused when your body begins to thin and dilate the cervix. This is necessary for your body to physically begin the birthing process. Labor contractions are known to be exceptionally painful and they tend to worsen over time. Since your body is going to continue to dilate, the contractions will begin to increase over time. They will come more quickly and will become increasingly more painful up until childbirth begins.

What Are Braxton Hicks Contractions?

Braxton Hicks contractions can be incredibly confusing for pregnant mothers. By all accounts, they are contractions. They can be exceptionally painful and are often related to very extreme menstrual cramps. Though they can be comparable to early labor cramps physically, they are not at all related to labor. In fact, Braxton Hicks contractions are caused by a wide range of completely normal circumstances including your water intake, diet, and even posture.

How Do I Handle Them?

If you are experiencing labor contractions, you will absolutely want to get to the hospital immediately. Many pregnant women are a little uncertain at first, but if you notice that your contractions are coming more regularly and with more force, it is time to get to the hospital.

For Braxton Hicks contractions, you will want to begin by changing your position. Sometimes you just need to move to stop them. If this doesn’t work, generally drinking some water can help stop them. In most instances, these contractions will stop very quickly. They are known to start and stop rather suddenly and generally act as an indication of dehydration.

Some doctors see an opportunity with Braxton Hicks contractions. Since they are comparable to real contractions, many doctors suggest practicing breathing exercises and using it as a chance to prepare for birth. It might be uncomfortable, but it can help you to prepare for the big day when it really does come.


Contractions are anything but fun, but you should still know about them to prepare for your upcoming pregnancy. As you get further along, don’t worry if you start to feel a contraction or two. They might just be a simple Braxton Hicks contraction reminding you to change positions or drink a little water. Don’t worry if you feel them throughout your pregnancy. They are harmless and can help you to prepare for the real moment when it arrives. Make sure you just keep breathing and grab a nice cool drink!

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