As you get closer to birthing your twins, it’s time to make sure that you know how to tell false and true labor apart.
False labor pains, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, are common during the second and third trimesters and can sometimes lead expecting moms to think that they’re already in labor. Because twins are at greater risk of being born preterm than singletons, you should know what Braxton Hicks with twins feels like as opposed to actual labor.
Read on for the differences between Braxton Hicks contractions and the real thing.
Braxton Hicks contractions are your body’s way of preparing for real labor. When you have them, it doesn’t mean that you’re about to give birth. Think of them as fire drills.
As you approach your due date, your uterus starts practicing for labor. Braxton Hicks contractions mimic the movement of your uterus during labor, but they don’t open the cervix or get you any closer to birthing your babies, as true contractions would do.
According to WebMD, Braxton Hicks contractions are usually felt during the third trimester. However, some moms begin to experience them sometime in the second trimester. Braxton Hicks are perfectly normal and usually aren’t painful — at least not like true contractions.
Not all pregnant moms will experience Braxton Hicks contractions. But those who have felt them say that they:
In case you’re wondering why the name for false labor pains sounds strangely like a country music band, you should know that they were actually named after the doctor who first described them.
John Braxton Hicks, an English doctor from the 19th century, was the first to note that expectant moms would sometimes feel contractions in the later stages of pregnancy but would not get any closer to birth.
Moms of twins or multiples are more prone to going into labor early than moms of singletons. More accurately, the March of Dimes says that you’re six times more likely to give birth early if you’re having twins than if you’re having just one baby.
In fact, the more babies there are in your belly, the higher the chances are for an early birth. More than 90% of all triplets are born prematurely. Meanwhile, almost all quads and higher-order multiples are born preterm.
This means that if you’re having twins or multiples, you need to be aware of the differences between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions, along with the other signs of actual labor. Knowing what’s going on in your body will enable you to get medical attention when you need it.
You’re just as likely to experience Braxton Hicks contractions if you’re carrying twins or multiples than if you’re carrying just one baby. This is a normal part of any pregnancy.
However, if the Braxton Hicks contractions are accompanied by the following symptoms, you should call your doctor or head straight to the hospital.
Not all women have the same experience of false labor pains or Braxton Hicks contractions. Some never have them while others experience them multiple times a day. Here are some signs that your uterus is just doing a test run and that it’s not yet time to meet your babies.
Braxton Hicks contractions:
And here are some signs that you’re not just having false labor pains. If you experience the following, it’s time to grab your hospital bag and go.
Real labor pains
If you suspect that you’re in labor or if your contractions come every five minutes and last at least a minute each time, call your doctor or midwife. If your water breaks head to the hospital at once. Try not to panic.
Now that you know how to tell false and real labor pains apart, let’s focus on Braxton Hicks contractions and how to deal with them. If you’re like most moms, you’ll be experiencing these false contractions quite a bit in the second and third trimesters. Here’s how you can help alleviate the pain.
It’s important for all moms, especially those of twins and multiples, to be familiar with the signs of real labor. If you’re looking for more information on Braxton Hicks with twins, how to tell if you’re in labor, or the different stages of childbirth, leave us a message or visit our forums section.
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