While every pregnancy journey is different, there are similar things that pregnant women like you essentially experience. Contractions are among those things, as these are often an indication that you’re already going through labor. However, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to contractions.
Whether you’re a first-time mom or not, there may be things about this particular labor sign that you’re not aware of yet. If you want to be more in the know of what you’ll experience as your journey comes to the most exciting part (the delivery, that is), then you might want to take a closer look at these three things to know about pregnancy contractions and how you can better manage them:
There Are Different Types Of Pregnancy Contractions
Most pregnant women think that contractions are a sign of labor. Yes, they often are, but not all the time. You must be familiar with the different types of contractions so you can tell if you’re already going through labor or not.
There are also Braxton Hicks contractions or more commonly referred to as false or ‘fake’ labor contractions. You can click for info if you want to learn more about this type of contraction and how you can differentiate it from the real deal.
Although they’re more common during the last trimester, fake contractions can occur at any time throughout your pregnancy. This makes them all the more confusing and almost feel like labor pains. The key is to know the correct intervals and patterns.
The other types of pregnancy contractions include:
- Preterm Labor: A normal pregnancy may last up to 42 weeks, starting from the date of your last menstrual period. Preterm labor contractions are supposed to occur before you reach the 37th week. Unfortunately, if you’re diagnosed to have them before your 20th week, it might lead to spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. Make sure to contact your doctor immediately if the contractions remain regular for an hour, even after resting.
- Early Labor: Early labor contractions could last up to three days and are also considered the longest stage of the birthing process. The contractions are often mild to moderate with irregular intervals. This is also the phase where you’d feel your stomach hardening or tightening. Early labor contractions are often a signal that your uterus is already exercising and the cervix has started to dilate to about 1.2 inches.
- Active Labor: Active labor is where your cervix has been fully dilated, and you’re ready to push your baby out. During this stage, contractions become more intense, occur more often, and last longer. This is also the time to head to the birthing center or hospital where you plan to give birth.
Sex May Cause Contractions
Sex contractions or orgasms are normal, with or without having sex. However, you may experience Braxton Hicks contractions which should go away eventually after a couple of hours. Some women also experience light spotting, which is also expected. But if your contractions are already accompanied by other symptoms such as vaginal discharge, pain, and bleeding, you need to contact your doctor immediately.
Sex contractions may occur throughout your pregnancy journey, especially if you’re sexually active for the most part. This doesn’t mean, though, that you’ll trigger labor as long as you have an uncomplicated pregnancy.
Learn How To Handle Contractions Correctly
Another thing you need to know about pregnancy contractions is how to handle them correctly. For first-time moms, it’s normal to be worried each time you feel the contractions. To be on the safer side, ask your doctor of the warning signs to watch out for whenever you feel your belly hardening or tightening.
If you think what you’re experiencing is just Braxton Hicks, they usually go away when you engage in physical activities or exercise. This is one way you can tell if you’re already feeling actual labor pains or not. Labor contractions become more intense when you’re engaged in an activity, while fake ones occur when you’re at rest.
The key is to know how to monitor your contractions so you can tell if there’s a need to be alarmed. If you know you’re nearing your 37th week, that means birthing is possible anytime soon. Once active labor begins, you may choose to go to the hospital or wait until your water breaks. If you’ve taken birthing classes, now’s also the time to apply some special breathing techniques.
Even with its fair share of hardships, pregnancy is undoubtedly an exciting and blissful journey. Contractions are among those hardships if you want to look at it that way, but they are perfectly normal. Some women even consider contractions as a positive thing since it means that their precious little one is ready to join the world.
There’s nothing to be scared of, as long as you know you’re taking care of yourself well. To understand what to expect as the delivery date nears, take your vitamins, get regular checkups with the doctor, and learn about the different types of contractions you may experience for every trimester of your pregnancy.