Your pregnancy symptoms
Some women may have Braxton Hicks contractions. They may be uncomfortable, but they are not painful. Women often describe Braxton Hicks contractions as feeling like mild menstrual cramps or a tightening in a specific area of the stomach that comes and goes.
Unlike the contractions that signal that labour is starting, Braxton Hicks contractions vary in length and strength, happen infrequently, are unpredictable and non-rhythmic. But nearer the end of your pregnancy, Braxton Hicks contractions may form more of a pattern and increase in frequency and intensity, so it can be difficult to tell if labour has started.
It’s always best to contact your midwife or maternity unit for advice if you are not sure whether you are having Braxton Hicks or labour contractions, especially while you are still below 37 weeks pregnant.
Find out more about Braxton Hicks contractions.
If you are at risk of giving birth early, it’s important to take care of yourself. There are also some things you can do to try and reduce the risk of giving birth early.
Tell your midwife or doctor if you have any symptoms that you are worried about. Do not worry if you've talked about it before and don't be concerned about whether you're wasting anyone's time. This is your pregnancy and it's important to trust your own instincts if you feel something isn't right.
You can also call the Tommy’s midwives on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected].
Symptoms of early labour
Call your midwife or hospital maternity unit straight away if you think you are in early labour. It may be a false alarm, but it’s best to get checked out. Find out more about the symptoms of early labour.
Your mental health
If you have been told that you are at increased risk of giving birth early, it’s important to try and reduce stress and take care of your emotional health. Find out more about coping with the idea of a premature birth.