It doesn't matter where you are on the journey of pregnancy, it is very normal to be terrified of the contractions that signal the start of labour.
When such is the case, it is no surprise that you are terrified by everything that feels like a contraction. The fact is that throughout the pregnancy, you will have to deal with experiences that feel like a contraction but are really not true contractions.
It becomes important to make yourself aware of the way a true contraction feels like because, often they come before time and you will need to get to your doctor immediately. This is all the more necessary if you are a woman who is pregnant for the first time as you will not have any experience as to what to expect.
Today, we shall talk about the various contractions or contraction like occurrences that you may need to face at the various phases of your pregnancy. Read on to know more.
Types of Contractions
- Contractions In The First Trimester
- Contractions Due To Dehydration
- Contractions Due To Constipation
- Contractions Of The First Trimester That You Must Be Careful About
- Braxton Hicks Contractions
- Contractions After Sex
- Prodromal Labour Contractions
- Early Labour Contractions
- Active Labour
- Contractions During Transition
- Contractions After Labour - The Afterbirth
- Contractions During Nursing
• Contractions In The First Trimester
In the first trimester, you may feel mild contractions. These contractions may feel like the menstrual cramps that you have during your periods. The menstrual cramps happen as your body needs to remove the unused lining of the uterus to prepare your womb for the next month.
This is one reason why you might freak out when you have cramps in the first trimester as it may indicate a miscarriage. But often, this cramping is the result of your uterus trying to expand to accommodate the growing foetus. This happens due to the stretching of the ligaments of the uterus.
• Contractions Due To Dehydration
It is not a secret that you need to drink a lot of water when you are pregnant. It is not just essential for your baby's growth but also for the proper functioning of your own body. If your body is dehydrated, the muscles in the uterus (or any muscle in the body) start to contract.
If you feel contractions in the earlier stages of your pregnancy, it could be because you haven't had enough water. Help yourself to some water and see if the contractions subside. Try not to have too much caffeine or sugary drinks as they tend to increase the dehydration.
• Contractions Due To Constipation
A pregnant woman, in her earlier days of pregnancy, is bound to experience constipation. The constipation can cause some contractions along with pain due to the gas. Make sure that you are taking a lot of vegetables, fruits and water. If your constipation is bothering you too much, you must visit the doctor and he may give you pills to help you.
• Contractions Of The First Trimester That You Must Be Careful About.
If you have bleeding associated with contractions, you must talk to your doctor immediately. Spotting in the very early days of pregnancy is quite normal but it is important to keep in mind that it happens when you have an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
• Braxton Hicks Contractions
Once you are done with the first trimester, you may feel contractions that are called Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions are characterised by the tightening of your stomach which relaxes after a peak in the contraction.
These contractions are painless and mild in the second trimester and can get increasingly intense as the pregnancy progresses. One point that makes these contractions different from the true contractions is the fact that it is random and does not come at regular intervals.
• Contractions After Sex
Unless you have clear instructions from the doctor to avoid it, there is no reason why you can't get intimate when pregnant. But you need to know that you may have contractions after having sex; especially if you had an orgasm. The prostaglandin in the sperm is also responsible for the after-sex contractions. You should not let it worry you. Relax while you wait for the contractions to pass.
• Prodromal Labour Contractions
Prodromal labour contractions are contractions that are felt late into the third trimester close to the due date. These contractions work to thin the cervix out and get it ready for the impending labour. Some women experience these very mildly and others have it so strong that they mistake it for the real contractions. They can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.
The differentiating factors are that the prodromal labour contractions will be achy rather than sharp. There will be no real pattern to the prodromal labour contraction either. You may feel a pressure in your back too.
• Early Labour Contractions
These are true contractions that you may feel when you are just going into labour. Early labour contractions will feel sharp and painful. These will be regular and increase in duration with each passing contraction.
You will also see a discharge that is pink in colour signalling that the active phase of the labour is close. Call your doctor or go to the hospital when your contractions are almost 5 minutes apart. If you stay far away from the hospital, it might be wise not to wait for so long.
• Active Labour
This is the phase where the cervix continues to dilate. The contractions will keep getting stronger and longer. Instead of focusing on the pain, try to breathe through it. Be aware of your surroundings and listen to what your doctor says. Try to remember that you shall meet your baby soon enough.
• Contractions During Transition
The contractions in this phase are very intense. This phase is not very long and will not be more than half an hour. The cervix is completely dilated. Now, you will feel the urge to push. You should push with every contraction or as your doctor asks you. Soon the baby will come out and the labour is done.
• Contractions After Labour - The Afterbirth
Even though the baby is here, the contractions are not done. You will still feel contraction that helps you to remove the placenta from the body. The nurses may massage your abdomen to help remove the baby.
Once it comes out, your doctor will check to see if the placenta is intact. This phase may not even be registered by you as you will be focused on your baby.
• Contractions During Nursing
Your pregnancy is done. But now your uterus needs to go back to its original size. Contractions help in this too. The hormones released during the nursing stimulate contractions. These feel like menstrual cramps and can be painful.