Greetings!

I am about 23 weeks along and have been having a lot of pressure and tightening for weeks.  This is my second baby.

These feel like contractions and they are probably just Braxton Hicks.  I forgot to bring this up at my most recent doctor's appt, so I thought I'd ask you ladies: what was normal for you with regards to Braxton Hicks and at what point should I feel any concern?

One thing that bothers me is that I seem to have more when I am physically active.  For example, while grocery shopping last night, I started feeling really tired and crampy, then started getting pretty regular feelings of tightening at the top and bottom of my belly (I've got an obvious preggo belly at this point).  There wasn't any rhythm (that I noticed), but the more I walked, the worse I felt. 

Also, because of back issues (herniated disc and sciatica), I'm doing physical therapy from home every day, which includes 1/2 hr to 1 hr of slow walking.  Some days I definitely feel an increase in the Braxton Hicks contractions by the end of the walking session.  Is this something to be concerned about?

I'd love to hear from anyone with experience on this kind of thing! 

Thanks!
Rachel

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I am 26 weeks along, and asked my midwife at about 22 weeks, because I was feeling them too. She said that it is common to feel them earlier with your 2nd baby. Mine are the same as yours...increased by physical activity.
Thanks Jessica! I was thinking this was probably normal, but it is good to hear that others are experiencing the same thing. :)

Rachel
I am about 13 weeks along with my 3rd baby. I actually felt braxton hicks right from the beginning. The first time I felt it, I was about 7 weeks along. I throughly researched and found out that they actually start in the second month of your pregnancy and just are usually not noticed until the 20th week or so. Very strange sensation to feel when I couldn't even feel my uterus outside of my pelvis yet.
But in answer to your question, I remember specifically that I couldn't do a lot of walking without getting some pretty intense braxton hicks. I worked as a nurses aide up until about 3 weeks before the baby. I remember I would have to carry trays of food from the patients room into the big food cart way, way, way down the hall. I hated it! I would contract and contract all the way down the hall, then lean against the cart, catch my breath and start again.
Are you worried about preterm labor? Because as much as a braxton hicks is related to contractions and labor, more braxton hicks doesn't indicate labor. My midwife always told me, if you have 5 crampy contractions in an hour, you need to stop, put your feet up, drink some water and call her. I hope that helps a little.
Thanks Emily. I know every pregnancy is supposed to be different, but I wasn't expecting how different this one is from my first! I noticed very few Braxton Hicks with my first and wasn't very sick with my first either. This pregnancy has been very interesting with lots of morning sickness from the very beginning to even now, lots of pain in my abdomen (probably stretching I'm told) and Braxton Hicks from early on as well.

Actually, yes I am worried about preterm labor. I need to do more research on it so I can put my mind at ease. I keep telling myself that these are not normal contractions, they aren't spaced consistently and they go away when I rest. But, I am still worrying (though I feel a little silly for worrying when it is probably nothing:P).

I appreciate your feedback! It is good to hear that this is fairly normal. :)

Raachel
Another trick from the doula we talked to yesterday was to drink a full 8 oz glass of liquid (water, milk, juice etc but nothing caffeinated) and then change what you were doing. If you were laying down, get up. if you were walking, stop and rest. If it goes away they are not normal contractions.

I am due asap with our third and I definitley felt more BH far earlier with each consecutive pregnancy. blah.
I have had intense braxton hicks my whole PG (this is my 3rd). MW said its normal for them to be noticed sooner and more intense in second and subsequent Pregnancies. Mine also happen more when I am more active.

This is my experience/what I was told (in my last PG and this one): True contractions start at the top or sides of your uterus not at the bottom. This is b/c the action works from the top down to push baby towards cervix and out. So, if you are feeling them from the bottom up it is almost certianly BH. BH last for about 15-30 seconds. Contractions usually last a little longer. If they are lasting less than 30 seconds prolly just BH. If you are active and having them do they get more frequent, regular, last longer, or more intense if you don't sit down and rest? Being active may make them happen but continued activity should not make them worse or regular. And they shouldn't be so bad you HAVE to sit down to manage them. Also, BH are usually localized in your belly while contractions are usually felt as an accompanying pressure (although not always pain) in your back too.

Hope this helps. As always though, being only 23 weeks, if you have any doubts, give your MW a call. If it is preterm labor the sooner you catch it the more likely they are to stop it. And if you continue to worry about it give your MW a call. Even if its just to set your mind at ease. no reason to sit around and worry when comfort is just a phone call away :)

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