March 21, 2011

Braxton Hicks contractions

I have been paying close attention to the subtle changes in my body.  It's amazing how pregnancy gets you in tune with your physical and emotional self, and  I have been prey to some of the symptoms common in the 8th month.  However, I hadn't felt a single Braxton Hicks contraction until late last week.  These contractions are often called "practice contractions"  because they are actually helping you to prepare for labor.  Nature is really wise.  They help to soften your cervix and uterus for your upcoming labor. Without them, labor would actually be much more difficult and painful.  Nevertheless, not all women feel them, they could be as subtle as some of your baby's movements and get swallowed up in the busy schedule of your day, especially if you are an active person.

A couple of nights ago, I was wide awake in bed, product of insomnia, and I started to feel some cramping in the lower middle part of my abdomen radiating down to my buttocks. Voila! Braxton Hicks alright! They lasted about 10 minutes.

But what actually triggers them?  It's really unpredictable, but some accounts suggest common triggers that include: 
  • physical activity or exertion
  • sexual intercourse
  • dehydration
  • touching your abdomen
  • your baby moving inside your uterus
Last Saturday, my husband and I sprang up to clean our patio after months of Winter neglect.  We re-potted two Majesty palms, cleaned up the strip of soil which houses our boxleaf shrubs and mulched the strip once we were done. We also fertilized the fern and the shrubs.  We also took out the patio bench and swept the floor.  All this activity must have triggered my practice contractions that night.  But it also happens that one of my daughter's most active periods is in the middle of the night. Whatever the reason, I finally know what they feel like and am relieved that things are progressing and my body is gearing up to the big day:  childbirth.


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