Braxton Hicks vs the Real Deal

Updated on April 14, 2011
M.F. asks from Larkspur, CO
17 answers

37 weeks, had pretty intense Braxton Hicks last night. This morning they are coming on again. The too of my uterus is sore. However, it's harder on the top of my stomach and not so much in the lower abdomen. Is there a coralation between Braxton and the real deal. I'm so worried I won't know when it's real. Any pointers or suggestions?
First Time Mom

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answers from Utica on

Apparently walking and slight exercise can stop Braxton Hicks Contractions whereas if its the real deal, walking will bring on the contractions more so. Also like others have said, BHC will be very sporatic and have no rhyme or rhythm to them
Good Luck and Congrats



answers from Omaha on

I don't think I ever had braxton hicks contractions. My contractions felt like menstrual cramps for both of my pregnancies. My water broke at home with both pregnancies too. I also went into labor 10 days before my due date with my first pregnancy and 14 days before my second pregnancy, so you really could go at any time! Good luck and congrats!

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answers from Colorado Springs on

BH's are usually felt more at the top of the uterus or all over the belly. Pre-labor contractions are usually felt in the pelvic girdle area, i.e pubic bone, lower back, hips and/or down into the upper legs. For most women they feel like period cramps and/or an off and on lower back ache. Your belly will still get hard but the focus is more down low. Make sure you are drinking lots of water because dehydration can cause painful, unproductive uterine pains. Also remember to slow down if the pains coincide with alot of activity.

Westside Birth Connection

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Rewind to my first pregnancy - I asked the same exact question. Trust me, you will know. I know that is a crappy answer, and I use to hate when people told me that. But you definitely will know!! Braxton Hicks make your tummy really tight and can be uncomfortable. When they are real contractions, at least for me, that tightness is also paired with period like cramps. In the beginning the cramps aren't so bad...kind of like the PMS or first day of period cramps. But then the start getting more intense. While Braxton Hicks are uncomfortable, they are bearable. Real contractions are the type of thing that will start to take your breath away, they are painful, not just uncomfortable. I'm not trying to scare you BTW, just trying to give my experience.

Good luck mama!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I had braxton hicks from 20 weeks on with 3 pregnancies, stupid things. Being a first time mom, call your doc when they're 10 minutes apart, and get your butt to the hospital if they're 5 minutes apart or less! Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go to the hospital. Ditto if your water breaks. Try laying on your left side for a bit. If you can move around (or lay down), if anything makes the pain go away, they're braxton hicks. Always call your doc if you're still in doubt; they won't mind!! :) Good luck and congrats!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

The only real difference is one will send you into labor the other will not. If you are laying down and drinking water and they are still not letting up, are coming at regular intervalls or intensifying you should call your doc or go to Labor and Delivery. Better safe than sorry in this situation.


answers from Pocatello on

Well if it's the real deal then you'll start having contractions at a regular pace. Like every 10 min etc. Then once they get down to every 5 to 7 you need do go to the doc. If this doesn't happen then it's just Braxton hicks. Also a lot of the times real contractions are in your lower back and wrap around to the front. Your stomach will get hard but you'll also have the feeling of period cramps. So anyways if they get really regular go to the hospital.



answers from St. Louis on

I was always told that Braxtons hurt like heck but are not spaced perfectly apart like the real deal. Once you can gauge your contractions based on clock, you will know they are real.

with that said- if you have any discharge changes or even just feel different, I would call your dr just to make sure.

I am only a couple weeks behind you and am so envious right now!! I have weeks to go still with baby #2 and i'm sooo uncomfertable!

Good luck! And listen to your body!



answers from Denver on

You may not know when it is the real deal. I just had my 4th baby and went to the hospital because I was sure it was time, only to come home 4 hours later. The first three I went into labor, went to the hospital, and had the baby. So I wouldn't worry about it. The folks at the hospital are totally prepared for false labor and believe me, if you are anywhere near the real deal labor you will know it. It is a hard thing to miss. A good rule of thumb is if you are having contractions that are 5 minutes or less apart consistently I would go to the hospital. Braxton Hicks may be consistent here and there but it won't stay that way.

Good luck on #1! There is nothing like it. = )



answers from Minneapolis on

So, I was told "when it's real, you'll know it". And while that was true, sort of, by the time I was in really active labor I hardly had any time to get to the hospital.

If you are having contractions at regular intervals, and it's something like 5 minutes apart, call your doctor. At 37 weeks you're good to go!



answers from New York on

My real indicator was when I began to have a bloody discharge. It is hard to tell. I remember with my second child calling my mom to come over to watch my other child because it was time to go to the hospital and within an hour they stopped. So for me I couldn't tell the difference at first. Once I had a bloody discharge I knew it was the real deal. If you are unsure no harm in calling the doc. Such an exciting time for you!! Good luck!!



answers from Washington DC on

If they continue despite water and rest then they are probably the real deal. Time them. Regular interval equals contractions. When did your doctor tell you to go in? Eat before you go. Hospitals do not like to feed laboring women. And you need energy to make it through labor.



answers from Houston on

I am in the same boat as you only this is my third. For my first two contractions felt like menstrual cramps and I knew I was in labor when I had a little bloody discharge. If you can lay down and feel a little better or they are not getting more painful I would say it's not the real thing. Real contractions get more intense regardless of what you do. Call your doctor if your in doubt. Even though this is my third it's still hard to tell sometimes.



answers from Philadelphia on

Braxton Hicks can be very painful for some but are different. Being a first time mom you won't know until you are really having the real deal. The real ones are regular contractions and with time get closer and closer. Until you see a true sign of regular contractions assume they are BH. And believe me, you'll know. They are a different feel, hard to explain until you go through it yourself.

For me, the BH was a pulling and reaction to activity I was doing or just a constant nagging on my body. With my oldest, I had some occasional tightening around the middle. With my second it was horrid. The pain at times put me in tears, kept me awake at night as well. When I'd get up to walk they hit hard so I had to sit or lay a lot to avoid them. With my triplets I couldn't feel them because I was so stretched out my stomach was numb.

Braxton Hicks is like practice contractions. It readies your uterus for labor. Why we have to be over prepared is beyond me, lol. But real contraction will start off soft and far apart, anywhere from an hour to 30 minutes or so. They will become a bit harder and closer together with time. You'll know the difference when it really comes. Very rarely do they hit you hard and all at once. Those are the rare stories. The only way you'd miss the beginning ones is if you slept through them but nature wakes you up. You sense what is happening.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets



answers from Denver on

Huh, my experience is different than everyone else's. To me it was clear as day between the real deal and the Braxton hicks. Braxton hicks are like exercise for your uterus to get you prepared for the big day. Your whole belly tightens, but they really aren't painful. Real contractions start at the top and push down, because your uterus literally is pushing down on the baby to get the baby out. Until the contractions are regular and a few minutes apart you don't need to go to the hospital. Sometimes, especially with the first baby, it takes your body a while to get the rhythm of contractions going since it's your body's first time.
Congrats on your upcoming arrival!!



answers from Louisville on

When the contractions are real, they will come at regular intervals and increase in intensity as they progress. Initially, it may be hard to tell the difference between those and the Braxton Hicks, especially when you aren't always feeling great late in your pregnancy and every twinge has you wondering if the time is finally upon you. All you can really do is rest (yeah, I know, easier said than done!), drink more water, and time the contractions occasionally to see if there's a pattern emerging. As one of the other ladies said, you WILL know when they are real because they won't stop or change like the Braxton Hicks contractions do. Do look for other symptoms besides the contractions to help you know, though, like a crampy feeling, feeling like you really need to go to the bathroom (#2) but nothing happening, and an increase in mucus when you wipe (with or without blood, sorry to be gross!), since these are frequently signs of labor advancing. Best of luck and congratulations in advance!


answers from Modesto on

your whole stomach will be hard as a rock when the real deal comes along.

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