Pelvis | Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Contractions (Symptom)


Gestational period extends over a period of 37 to 42 weeks. If a pregnant woman experiences contractions before 37 weeks she may deal with premature birth, whereas if contractions occur beyond the 42 weeks it means that she has a delayed delivery. Uterine contractions are the periodic tightening and relaxing of the uterine muscle, the largest muscle in a woman's body, and they are very difficult to predict. Something triggers the pituitary gland to release a hormone called oxytocin that stimulates the uterine tightening. There are two types of contractions: Braxton Hicks uterine contractions and contractions of labor.

Braxton Hicks contractions are sporadic and a pregnant woman can experience them throughout pregnancy or not. They begin at about the 6th week of pregnancy, but they may not be felt so early. They are experienced by most women around the middle of pregnancy. Contractions intensify late pregnancy and unlike the contractions of labor, they are not so painful. Some pregnant women feel no pain, while some other do not feel this type of contractions. Contractions of labor announce birth, but labor does not occur in the case of all women in the same period.

However, when approaching possible to feel, baby goes in the lower uterus (the pelvis), as it prepares to exit. This can happen a few weeks or even hours before birth. Breaking the water is another sign that labor has begun, and after some time the contractions come. Some of their characteristics may include: appearance at regular intervals; it usually moves from back to abdomen; it takes about 30-70 seconds; becomes increasingly painful as childbirth approaches. It is possible that, at 35 weeks, uterine contractions occur with no pathological significance, but this does not mean that these contractions are efficient enough to produce already childbirth.