Around this time in her pregnancy, your spouse may experience rhythmic contractions, called Braxton Hicks Contractions, in her uterus.
What are Braxton Hicks contractions?
Braxton Hicks contractions are contractions in the muscles of the uterus that start to occur around 6 weeks of pregnancy. They become increasingly pronounced with advancing pregnancy, which is why your spouse may have become aware of them only now. It is normal for her never to feel them, however.
What causes these contractions?
The exact reason for the occurrence of Braxton Hicks contractions is not known. Doctors speculate that they may serve to fortify and promote blood flow to the placenta. They may also play a role in softening the cervix for childbirth.
Are Braxton Hicks contractions painful?
Usually your spouse will experience Braxton Hicks contractions as painless and quite infrequent. In the last few weeks before delivery, however, these contractions will be more frequent and may be painful. This stage is known as ‘pre-labor.’
When would she need to see her doctor?
If your spouse is not yet 37 weeks pregnant, you may need to call the doctor if she reports any of these symptoms:
- Abdominal cramping, or more than four contractions per hour
- Regular, rhythmic contractions that are painful
- Bleeding from the vagina
- Increase in, or change in type of, vaginal discharge
- Sudden pain in the back or increase in pressure on the pelvis
Disclaimer: The above information is commonsense reflection drawn from general experience. If you are looking for expert medical advice, please consult your doctor.