Contractions... Just Braxton Hicks? or Preterm Labor?

Updated on September 12, 2010
L.D. asks from Bath, ME
9 answers

I am 32 weeks pregnant on tuesday, all night I have been having braxton hicks contractions.. They have been coming very regularly and I am getting worried. This is my first baby so I have a lot of quetions and I'm always worried about every little thing. I drank plenty of water in the last hour and I have been laying down. They are still coming, not painfull just annoying. I called the doctor and one of the nurses told me to just go to sleep and I would know if it was real or not... But I have heard to many stories about women not even knowing it was real labor... they just thought it was braxton hicks... so I am not sure what to think.. any advice?

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answers from Grand Rapids on

I would go with the lay down and sleep. If you wake up because of them, then head to the hospital. Of if you wake in the morning, and are still having them regularly then head to the hospital as well. My doctor has told me they would rather see me end up in the hospital and send me home, than me not go in and have something happen. So if it really concerns you then go up there.

If it is labor, you will want some rest. I had to have both my kids induced and was at the hosptial the night before. Both times, they gave me drugs so I would sleep, and it made a huge difference. My son came quickly after starting pitocin, so i felt good getting that sleep. My daughter, came 2 days after I went into the hospital, and I was up all night with intense labor, and since i didn't sleep that night, it made a huge difference with all the pain, and how everything went. So get some sleep, and good luck.

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answers from Boston on

Hi L.!
I'm sorry I am writing a few days after your post. I hope you are doing well.
I started to have contractions much like yours in my 32nd week. I was away from home when they started. I did what you did--laid down and drank water. I was pretty worried, b/c while I was pretty sure that it was not labor, they were definitely and obviously contractions of some sort. I did not call my doctor, although I probably should have, but did go to sleep and in the morning they were gone.
However, a few days later they returned, and this time I did call my doctor. They never hurt, but I could tell they were contractions of some kind. She had me go to the hospital to get monitored to find out they were real contractions and ended up putting me on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy.
My beautiful daughter arrived 4 weeks later (and a month early), so while you are probably not in labor, it would be a good idea, especially if you continue to have them, to have your doctor check you out maybe? It wouldn't hurt and knowing more would make you feel better too.
God Bless!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

First of all, the nurse gave you very good advice.
Go to sleep. You need your rest.
If a contraction wakes you up, then you should call again.
But probably a contraction will NOT wake you up.

If you know any relaxation techniques, this is a good time to practice those.
Please try not to worry. You are NOT going into labor yet.
Braxton-Hicks are just your body practicing for the big event.
You'll have them off and on for the next few weeks.

When you get closer to the due date, that's a good time to observe frequency and duration of contractions. But until then,
just figure they'll be intermittent and irregular.

About hearing stories . . . . . . sighhh . . . .
Those are the exceptions. Not to be considered typical.

Good luck!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you were in labor you would not be able to ignore the contractions, they would wake you up and be much more than annoying. If you can rest it is a good idea. I had labor start late at night and was up all night with contractions with my first baby and you do not want to go into active labor on little or no sleep if you can help it. It makes it much harder to deal with the pain and everything else. My contractions felt like very bad menstrual cramps at first and built from there.


answers from Boston on

I agree with Kay. If you are in real labor you will know. My doctor told me, the more BH I had the better. Mine were the kind that would stop me in my tracks, at home, grocery shopping etc, the stomach area got very hard.

Here is a great link: .

I don't know if it made a difference, but my kids were born when 'real labor' started within and hour or so arriving at the hospital.



answers from Washington DC on

The way to tell if they are BH or not is if you get up and walk around and it ceases then it is not the real deal. I used to worry about the same thing when I was pregnant with our first last year. I feared that I wouldn't know that I was in labor, but believe me, when you are in actual labor you WILL know.

I got Braxton-Hicks all the time. There's really nothing you can do to stop them because it is your body preparing itself for real labor in a way.



answers from Tulsa on

Trust yourself and don't be afraid to show up at the labor delivery center.
I have a huge tolerance for pain and thought labor would hurt so much more since many women told me their horror stories.
I went to my gyno exam three weeks before my due date. My husband and I knew the exact date of conception. Afterwards the contractions and mild pain started. My nurse and doctor told me for twelve times in 30 hours that I could NOT be in labor and that I would know it. I finally went to the birth hospital. My water had broken, I needed antibiotics and fluids, and I was at 4. When I hit 7, the nurse declared it would be another 2-3 hours of labor.
Twenty minutes later, with no pain medicine, she said the baby was coming. The two minutes the shoulders were coming out really hurt, but the rest was not that painful. They told me next time don't be afraid to come in and let them look. It is included in the price(though that wasn't a factor) and it was their job. They never made me feel dumb.
The previous poster mentioned getting medicine to sleep. If I had been given that, my labor would have been so much shorter and my health not stressed. I fell asleep during the final twenty minutes of labor. it is possible to sleep if you are exhausted.


answers from Phoenix on

They always have told me that contractions are very normal, but if you have more than six in one hour than you need to go in to the E.R.


answers from Spokane on

If you feel like it go to the hospital...all they will do is check you and tell you whats happening...if you need to go home so what? If you need to stay then you will stay...don't feel bad about going if you are's not like they have never had that happen before:)

I say "no harm, no foul"! Trust your instincts! My contractions were nothing serious...I totally could have ignored glad I didn't tho...arrived at the hospital at 6am...had my baby at Noon!

Good Luck and congrats on the baby!

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