Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

Know the difference between real and “practice” contractions
Photo via Allerair.blogspot.com

I had a little scare last week. At 30 weeks along in my second pregnancy, I was experiencing painful contractions every 15 minutes or so. This went on for a few hours before I woke up my husband and he encouraged me to have my doctor paged. My doctor told me to meet him at the hospital in the labor and delivery wing.

Several hours and two shots of Terbutaline later, the contractions ceased. At no point was I actually in labor, but if my contractions had gone on and not stopped on their own, I may have gone into labor. I was shaken up but felt comfortable going home with the contractions gone.

In the few hours that I laid in my bed and contemplated if my contractions were Braxton-Hicks or actually worrisome, I visited a lot of websites from my Kindle Fire. I found conflicting information and became more confused than before I started searching for answers. When I was leaving the hospital, the doctor gave me a list of things to look out for in the coming weeks — things that would be my warning to go back to the hospital immediately. Most were pretty obvious but some surprised me.

So if you are a pregnant lady searching the Internet for answers about your contractions, here are three ways to tell the difference between “practice” Braxton-Hicks contractions and the real deal. These tips apply to women who are less than 37 weeks along in the pregnancy.

Call your doctor if…

Your contractions are 10 – 15 minutes apart. Even if your contractions are short and inconsistent, go to the doctor if they keep coming back and do not decrease in severity.

You experience a dull ache in your lower back, similar to menstrual cramps. You should not feel cramping in your lower back if you are only experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions.

You feel pressure on your vaginal area. If you feel like something is “pushing down” on your pelvic area, accompanied by contractions, call your doctor and head in to get checked out.

When all else fails, just go in and get checked out. If you still have a lot of time left before your baby is due, you want to give yourself the best chance to keep him or her in there until they are really ready to come out.

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Category: Pregnancy

Tags: Braxton Hicks