Chances are, if you are experiencing pregnancy for the first time, being able to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contraction pains is an impossible task. The Department of Obstetrics Gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) shares what to look out for.
"For a first-time mom, recognising contraction pains in challenging. On one hand, you desire to go hospital in time but certainly don't want to be embarrassed for false labour pains." The Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group, explains the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions.
False contractions (aka Braxton Hicks pains)
Most women experience false Braxton Hicks contractions in the late trimester, typically after the 36th week. These are rehearsal contractions of the womb for D day. They feel real although they are not real labour pains. The difference is that they are irregular, and will not cause dilation.
How to tell real contractions?
In comparison, real contractions are regular and become more intense and frequent. Labour pains begin briefly and more than 30 minutes apart, but will get closer and last longer. A real contraction lasts about a minute. Once you have established contractions about 5 minutes apart and persistent (>2 hours), it's time to get ready. Chances are that you are truly in labour. Congrats! This is the D day.
Click here to find out what the 5 warning signs of labour are.