General Practice 2022

Contraç&training tools: what they are, what they are for and when they arise

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Contraç&training tools: what they are, what they are for and when they arise
Contraç&training tools: what they are, what they are for and when they arise

Training contractions are those that appear after the 2nd trimester and are weaker than true labor contractions, which appear towards the end of pregnancy.

These contractions, also called Braxton Hicks or "false contractions", usually cause a change in the shape of the belly and can make it harder. They also tend to be irregular and cause only discomfort in the pelvic area and back.

Training contractions don't cause pain, don't dilate the uterus and also don't have the strength needed to deliver the baby.

What are training contractions for

Braxton Hicks contractions are believed to occur to centralize the cervix, so that it is aligned with the vaginal canal, facilitating the delivery of the baby at the time of delivery.

Furthermore, they also seem to help increase oxygen-rich blood flow to the placenta. These contractions do not cause the cervix to dilate, unlike labor contractions, and therefore cannot induce birth.

When contractions appear

Training contractions usually appear around 6 weeks of pregnancy, but are only identified by the pregnant woman from 16 weeks onwards, which is the gestational age from which the uterus has left the pelvic cavity and is in the abdomen.

What to do during contractions

During the training contractions, it is not necessary for the pregnant woman to take any special care, however, if they cause a lot of discomfort, it is recommended that the pregnant woman lie down comfortably with the support of a pillow on her back and under her knees, remaining in this position for a few minutes.

Other relaxation techniques can still be used such as meditation, yoga or aromatherapy, which help to relax mind and body. See how to practice aromatherapy.

Training or real contractions?

True contractions, which initiate labor, usually appear from 37 weeks of gestation and are more regular, rhythmic and stronger than training contractions. In addition, they are always accompanied by moderate to severe pain, do not decrease with rest and increase in intensity over time. See better how to identify labor.

The following table summarizes the main differences between training and real contractions:

Training Contracts True contractions
Cause discomfort but not pain. Are accompanied by severe to moderate pain.
Irregular and do not happen more than 2 times in a 1-hour period. Regular, appearing every 20 minutes and progressing to 10 and then 5 minutes.
They are not accompanied by malaise or other symptoms May be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

If the contractions are at regular intervals, increase in intensity and cause moderate pain, it is recommended to call the unit where prenatal care is being performed or go to the unit indicated for delivery, especially if the woman already has over 34 weeks pregnant.

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