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When is a Braxton-Hicks contraction actually preterm labor?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
Braxton Hicks contractions that are increasing in frequency, intensity or duration, are developing a rhythmic pattern or are becoming painful are all indicators of preterm labor. In addition feelings of vaginal heaviness or increased vaginal discharge often are early indicators of preterm labor.
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner
Braxton-Hicks contractions are the tightening of your uterine muscles that usually last around 30 seconds. (Actual labor contractions usually last 30-90 seconds.) They should go away when you change positions, either from sitting to standing or vice versa. If they do not go away, happen more than 4 times in an hour, or are accompanied by changes in vaginal discharge, you should go to a doctor. These are signs of preterm labor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.