Braxton Hicks in the second trimester

At almost 20 weeks pregnant (tomorrow! Yay!) there are so many things that I’m enjoying about this time.

…then there’s my buddy Braxton Hicks.

These “practice contractions” scared the living daylights out of me a few weeks back. My stomach was hardening and cramping on and off all day, then the next, and the next.

Finally I called my OB, who called me in for an ultrasound to check my cervix and the baby. Both were thankfully fine and it was here that I learned exactly what Braxton Hicks contractions. Basically, they are false labor pains that in no way indicate actual labor. More like your body doing some practicing for “the big show.”

Waiting on my OB. Snacking on a chocolate bar.

Although there’s no harm in these false labor pains, my doctor still gave me some tips for how to prevent and/or ease them.

1. Stay hydrated. This is something that I’ve been really trying to keep on top of since talking with my OB. Dehydration can bring on Braxton Hicks, so I now make sure to always have a water bottle with me on hand. I’ve also been trying to drink at least 8 oz of water every morning when I wake up.

2. Listen to your body. My doctor isn’t a fan of prescribing bed rest and is realistic about the fact that most people can’t afford to stop working halfway into their pregnancy. But she did advise me to pay attention to the cues my body is sending me. If the cramps come on when I’m walking or lifting, pause and relax for a moment. If it’s a certain position while I’m sitting or laying down, either change positions or stand up for a bit to see if they ease up.

Since seeing my doctor, I’ve gotten used to the fact that most days I’ll feel these weird contraction/cramp feelings at least once, but they don’t freak me out nearly as much. I now know that as they aren’t anything to worry about (as long as they don’t occur consistently, they don’t get closer together in some sort of pattern, and there’s no bleeding).

So, thankfully, although my buddy Braxton Hicks is annoying, it isn’t actually harmful to the baby or me.

Pregnancy. What a weird, beautiful roller coaster ride, am I right??

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