Irritable Uterus vs. Braxton Hicks

pregnant woman sitting on floor

During their first pregnancy, many women discover that there are so many things that their mothers, and sisters never warned them about. We experience so many changes in our bodies that it’s difficult to keep track of them, let alone remember to warn others of their existence. 

Painful contractions can be attributed to low fluid levels, either through simple dehydration or lowered levels of amniotic fluid.

Those who have never heard the term Braxton Hicks contractions will likely learn very early on in their second or third trimester what it means.

Often deemed “practice contractions,” Braxton Hicks usually consist of the uterus hardening, or balling up, simulating a mild labor contraction.

Many women may not realize they are experiencing them and may even mistake them for fetal movement. For the most part, Braxton Hicks contractions are rarely painful and will remain quite irregular. During periods of heavy activity, however, you may find the contractions become uncomfortable. If so, resting with your feet up will usually lessen your discomfort.

MORE:  Recognizing Preterm Labor: How Will I Know? }

For many women, having Braxton Hicks contractions would be a blessing. For those who have been told they have an “irritable uterus”, the onset of mildly uncomfortable contractions during the last weeks and months of the pregnancy would be ideal.

What do you think? Irritable Uterus vs. Braxton Hicks

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34 comments

  1. Avatar of Lynna Lynna says:

    i have not experienced braxton hicks contractions yet, but who knows? lol

  2. Avatar of Christina Christina says:

    I’m starting to have them all the time and I’m only 27wks

  3. Avatar of victoria victoria says:

    I think I’ve had braxton-hicks contractions a couple of times. Since this is my first pregnancy I’m not 100 percent sure if they were contractions. I can only describe the feeling as strange but not painful.

  4. Avatar of GENA GENA says:

    My doc blames the uncomforted contractions on stress and anxiety and recommends medications. I do not see eye to eye with her.

  5. Avatar of ktetter1st ktetter1st says:

    i think i had the braxton-hicks and didn’t know what was going on until i talked to my midwife about it, but thanks for this article it was very helpful also.

  6. Avatar of Tina Tina says:

    Nice to know since I didn’t know about either until this article.

  7. Avatar of Tina Tina says:

    I contracted during both a 20 and 26 week ultrasound and I am now on partial bedrest at 27 weeks due to my cervix thinning.

  8. I got the braxton-hicks and I was very scared because I didn’t know what was happening.

  9. Avatar of Elfie Elfie says:

    I had irritable uterus.

  10. Avatar of tiffanysue22 tiffanysue22 says:

    I have had very painful contractions, mostly at work. I just let it go as braxton hicks but I will def. talk to the doctor about it at my appointment in a few days!

  11. Avatar of Ashley Ashley says:

    being pregnant for the first time this site has been a great resource tool.

  12. Avatar of verochka31 verochka31 says:

    Again, great heads up and information, especially for those women that had noone to prepare them for all this. Sometimes I wish that every woman out there pregnant knew about this great site……………..

  13. Avatar of AmyC AmyC says:

    As usual very good information

  14. I have been feeling something different lately. Not necessarily painful, but irritating. Not sure what it is…

  15. Avatar of Jeanetta Jeanetta says:

    At 36 weeks I’m having what I’m guessing is Braxton Hixes contractions, but I’ve started to dilate at the end of 35 weeks.

  16. Avatar of Faleshia Faleshia says:

    i actually had both IUS irritable uterus syndrome and braxton hicks contractions. there really is no difference.

  17. Avatar of Anna Anna says:

    I feel pain similar to menstrual cramps and my doc said it’s Braxton-Hicks… but it feels nothing like it is described in this article

  18. Avatar of Jeanetta Jeanetta says:

    Very informative…I’ve been having menstrual cramps on and off during my entire pregnancy.

  19. Avatar of Anna Anna says:

    I feel pain similar to menstrual cramps and my doc said it’s Braxton-Hicks… but it feels nothing like it is described in this article

  20. Avatar of marylove marylove says:

    I actually was told that I have Irritable Uterus and let me tell you, what I am experiencing is way different than what is described in this article. I have regular, consistant contrations. They don’t stop at all and come about every 7 to 5 min. They are very painfull like I am in labor. They have tried every medication known to stop false labor but none have them worked! There is no relief. I was told by my doctor and nurses at the hospital that I should buy a blow up pool because they don’t think I’m going to make it to the hospital in time. I was told that what I am feeling probably won’t change much when labor actually start and that I might have the baby at home because I won’t realize I’m in labor and I live 45min away from the hospital. Either an EMT or Fire Fighter probably will be delivering the baby!

    • Avatar of sayhola sayhola says:

      How did it go? Did you make it to the hospital??? How far along were you when you were having such consistent (yet not labor) contractions? Wishes that it all went OK.

  21. I don’t remember having them with my first child but I did have them with my second…. they were painful but after a warm shower they went away…. I had them two times before the real deal came!!!

  22. Avatar of Julie Julie says:

    My grandma has no idea what I am talking about when I tell her about these, even though I have tried several times to explain it to her and she had 3 kids. It helps to walk when you have them, it eases the pain.

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