Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks are irregular contractions of the uterus occurring towards the middle of pregnancy in the first pregnancy and, earlier and more intensely, in subsequent pregnancies. These contractions tend to occur during physical activity. The uterus tightens for 30 to 60 seconds beginning at the top of the uterus; and the contraction gradually spreads downward before relaxing. Although said to be painless, Braxton Hicks contractions may be quite uncomfortable and sometimes difficult to distinguish from the contractions of true labor. Named for Dr. John Braxton Hicks (1823-1897), a British gynecologist.