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How to identify pregnancy contractions

During pregnancy the woman may have several episodes of contractions, but not all of them represent the beginning of labor. Being able to identify contractions is very important so that the woman knows when to go to the hospital or not.

Pregnancy contractions are characterized by:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen, as if it were menstrual cramp, but much stronger than normal;
  • Pain in the form of a stitch in the region of the vagina or in the lower back, as if it were a renal crisis;
  • The belly becomes very hard during contractions, which lasts at most 1 minute at a time.

Contractions during the gestational period are important to "educate" the uterus for the time of delivery, but the intensity and frequency determine if they are training contractions, starting at the 20 weeks of gestation or labor, from 37 weeks .

How to identify pregnancy contractions

Training Contractions - Braxton Hicks

Braxton Hicks contractions are training contractions, in which the belly or a part of it becomes momentarily very hard. Generally, this type of contraction arises around the 20th week of gestation to prepare the uterus and body for the time of delivery.

This type of contractions usually occur 3 to 4 times a day and can occur when the baby moves or kicks, decreasing with rest or if you change your position. They last less than 60 seconds and have no rhythm or pain.

In addition, these training contractions can also cause slight discomfort in the pelvic region that does not extend to the back or other parts of the body.

When to go to the hospital

You should call your obstetrician or go to the hospital if these contractions are severe, frequent and rhythmic, especially between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy or if these contractions are accompanied by pink or red discharge.

In these cases, the doctor may indicate rest and prescribe magnesium to prevent contractions from triggering labor ahead of time.

Labor contractions

The contractions that indicate the onset of labor are always accompanied by pain and do not diminish with rest. They can occur from 37 weeks of gestation, are regular and rhythmic and increase in intensity, appearing initially every 20 minutes, evolving to a range of less than 15 minutes and then every 10 to 5 minutes.

When to go to the hospital

You should go to the hospital when the contractions take about 1 minute each and occur every 5 minutes because it is a sign that the baby will is going to be born.

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