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Braxton Hicks Contractions vs True Labor Contractions


Braxton Hicks Contractions vs True Labor Contractions - How To Know The Difference

Braxton Hicks Contractions are false labor contractions or practice contractions that usually occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy or possibly occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy in the second trimester. True or real labor contractions usually occur after the 37th week of pregnancy and before the 37th week of pregnancy in the case of preterm or early labor. Braxton Hicks contractions occur at irregular intervals and are milder than true labor contractions. 



Tips to identify true labor contractions






Difference between Braxton Hicks Contractions and True Labor Contractions 

  • Braxton Hicks Contractions begins as an uncomfortable painless tightening or squeezing in the abdomen while Real or true Labor contractions begin as a tightening or cramping that comes in waves that come from the back and move to the front.

  • True or Real labor contractions occur at regular intervals and are stronger than Braxton Hicks Contractions.

  • Braxton Hicks Contractions don't get worse over time while real labor contractions get more intense and painful over time.

  • False Contractions don't occur closer together but true contractions occur closer together.

  • Braxton Hicks Contractions go away when you move, switch your position or empty your bladder. Real labor contractions don't go away even if you move or switch your positions.

  • Braxton Hicks Contractions don't follow a consistent pattern but true contractions follow a consistent pattern.

  • False Contractions vary in duration and frequency and prepare your body for labor while  Real Labor contractions indicate that labor is started.

  • Real Labor contractions are more intense and painful than Braxton hicks contractions. 

  • Braxton Hicks Contractions starts as uncomfortable tightening from the top of the uterine muscles and spreads downwards. True labor contractions pain usually peaks when the muscles tighten and ease when they relax.

  • False Contractions usually last about 15 to 30 seconds and sometimes as long as two minutes. Real labor contractions usually last about 30 to 70 seconds.

  • False labor contractions are weaker than real labor contractions.

  • Braxton Hicks Contractions cause discomfort at the front of the abdomen but real labor contractions begin from the back and move towards the front of the abdomen.






When to call your health care provider?

Call your doctor if you notice the following signs and symptoms. The signs that indicate you're in true labor are:

  • Bloody or Pinkish Mucus
  • Continuous fluid leakage from your vagina.
  • Change in pattern of baby's movement.
  • If you feel like your baby has dropped lower in your belly.



If Braxton Hicks Contractions are making you uncomfortable then you can do the following things:

  • Try to switch your position.
  • Take a walk or a warm bath.
  • Take rest and get a massage to relax.


Braxton Hicks or practice contractions cause a little discomfort but they are a normal part of pregnancy and are preparing your body for true labor. If your contractions are frequent and very painful then it's better to contact your health care provider. Have a happy and safe pregnancy.



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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and it should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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