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Difference Between Braxton Hicks and Contraction

Braxton Hicks vs  Contraction

Being pregnant can be uncomfortable, the moment a woman conceives she experiences changes in her body. She will experience morning sickness and dizziness, food cravings and nausea, aches and pains. These pregnancy symptoms will usually disappear as the baby grows, in the second or third trimester, but will be replaced by the discomfort of a growing belly.

The pregnant woman will also start feeling contractions. If felt on the third trimester or the last month of pregnancy, it could be the sign of labor but if felt during the earlier months, it could be false labor. This false labor is called Braxton Hicks contractions. Listed below are the characteristics of Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions.

Braxton Hicks

Braxton Hicks contractions are also known as false labor or practice contractions. They are felt around the second or third trimester of pregnancy. The pregnant woman will feel scattered uterine contractions that are irregular and she will also feel cramping.

These contractions are painless and caused by the tightening of the uterine muscles. They last for about two minutes and studies suggest that they occur in preparation for actual labor.

A pregnant woman should be adequately hydrated because dehydration can bring about a false contraction. She should have sufficient intake of liquid in order to prevent or alleviate Braxton Hicks contractions.

Other activities that can ease the discomfort of Braxton Hicks are; lying down on the left side, a change in movement, rhythmic breathing and frequent urination.


A contraction or contractions are the movement of the uterus as part of childbirth. At the onset of labor, contractions are felt which start with just a slight pain and continue to increase as labor progresses. At the start of labor, the contractions are short but will become longer as labor intensifies. This is caused by the release of oxytocin into the body.

When contractions are felt, it is necessary to know the cause because it might be a false contraction. Some activities like sex can bring about contractions and so does a full bladder. If the contractions have a pattern and increase in intensity then they are real contractions.

The best thing to do during contractions is to go for a walk and move around. Just remember that when in labor, the contractions will not disappear and instead will become more painful.


1. Braxton Hicks contractions are not painful, while real contractions are painful and the pain increases as labor becomes more intense.
2. Braxton Hicks contractions can be caused by sexual activity or a full bladder, while a real contraction is caused by the onset of labor.
3. Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular, while real contractions come at regular intervals and have a pattern.
4. Braxton Hicks contractions will disappear with walking or changing positions, while activities cannot alleviate the pain in real contractions, instead the pain will increase.
5. Braxton Hicks contractions are short and usually disappear after a few minutes, but real contractions are longer and continue until the baby has been delivered.

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