How to Identify Pregnancy Contractions

How to Identify Pregnancy Contractions

During pregnancy the woman may have several episodes of contractions, but not all contractions represent the onset of labor. Being able to identify contractions is very important so that the woman knows when she should go to the hospital or not.

Pregnancy contractions are characterized by:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen, as if it were a stronger menstrual cramp than normal;
  • Pain in the form of a stitch in the region of the vagina or the bottom of the back, as if it were a renal crisis;
  • The belly becomes very hard during contraction, which lasts at most 1 minute at a time.

Contractions during the gestational period are important to train the uterus for the time of delivery, but the intensity and frequency determine if they are contractions of training, from the 20 weeks of gestation, or of labor, from 37 weeks.

How to Identify Pregnancy Contractions

Training contractions – braxton hicks

Braxton Hicks contractions are training contractions, in which the belly or a part of it becomes momentarily very hard. Generally, these types of contractions arise around the 20th week of gestation to prepare the uterus and body for the time of delivery.

Braxton Hicks contractions usually occur 3 to 4 times a day, when the baby moves or kicks, decreasing with rest or change of position of the mother. They last less than 60 seconds, have no rhythm and do not cause pain.

In addition, these training contractions may cause slight discomfort in the pelvic region that does not extend to the back or other part of the body.

When to go to the hospital

The pregnant woman should call her obstetrician or go to the hospital if she has severe, frequent and rhythmic contractions, especially between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy or if these contractions are accompanied by pink or red discharge.

In these cases, the physician may indicate rest and prescribe magnesium to prevent contractions from triggering labor ahead of time.

Labor contractions

The contractions that indicate the onset of labor are always accompanied by pain and do not diminish with rest. They can happen from 37 weeks of gestation, are regular and rhythmic, increase in intensity and appear initially every 20 minutes, evolving to a range of less than 15 minutes and then every 10 to 5 minutes.

When to go to the hospital

The pregnant woman should go to the hospital when the contractions take about 1 minute each and occur every 5 minutes because they are symptoms that the baby will be born.