When you hear the word "contraction" most people think that a delivery is approaching, and this is so because usually the contractions are associated with imminent birth . However, if you have already been pregnant you will know that there are other types of contractions during pregnancy that do not
When you hear the word "contraction" most people think that a delivery is approaching, and this is so because usually the contractions are associated with imminent birth.
However, if you have already been pregnant you will know that there are other types of contractions during pregnancy that do not necessarily imply that the uterus is preparing to expel the baby. Solve here all the doubts about contractions in pregnancy.
Doubts about the most common contractions in pregnancy
1. What are contractions? Contractions occur when the uterus contracts and relaxes, are completely normal during pregnancy because the uterus (specifically a layer of muscle called myometrium) must be extended to create the space necessary for the fetus to grow.
2. How are contractions measured? The activity of the uterus during the different phases of labor is called uterine dynamics, and includes the following parameters:
- Frequency, usually 3-5 contractions every 10 minutes once labor has begun.
- Basal tone, the intrauterine pressure when the uterus is at rest.
- Intensity, has to do with the pressure experienced by the uterus.
- Duration, which usually ranges between 30 and 90 seconds.
3. Why do I sometimes feel that my gut hardens a lot intermittently? During pregnancy, contractions occur spontaneously, they are usually infrequent and intense, they are called Braxton-Hicks contractions (or physiological contractions) and are not related to those that occur in the moments before giving birth. They can appear around the fourth month of pregnancy and continue sporadically until delivery.
As the date of delivery approaches, contractions are increasingly intense and frequent, its function is to prepare your body for childbirth.
Braxton-Hicks contractions tend to increase when the pregnant woman spends a lot of time standing or is low on hydration. In these cases, to decrease its frequency and intensity, it is enough to rest, change position (decrease with the position of lateral ulna) or drink enough water.
4. When can contractions be dangerous? However, if you are pregnant and feel contractions that follow a rhythmic pattern, or are accompanied by pain or bleeding, you should consult your gynecologist as soon as possible.
5. Are the contractions painful? Braxton-Hicks contractions are not painful and, as we have clarified previously, do not indicate the imminence of labor, it is a natural phenomenon that occurs as a result of the adaptation of the uterus to the growth of the fetus.
6. Can you indicate a premature birth? If before the 37th week you experience painful contractions, it is necessary to consult with your gynecologist because we could be facing a premature birth, to get rid of doubts, probably perform a vaginal ultrasound to measure the cervical length and be able to predict the nature of the contraction .
Contractions outside of pregnancy
Postpartum contractions also occur llamadas contractions called postpartum contractions . They are necessary for the uterus to recover the shape it had before pregnancy (uterine involution), facilitate the sealing of the open arterial mouths after delivery and facilitate the detachment of tissues related to pregnancy that may have been left inside the uterus.They concentrate especially during the 24 - 48 hours
after childbirth and usually last a week, although each time they manifest with less intensity. During the first hours they can be painful. As a curiosity, wrongs are more common and intense in mothers who have had children before, the frequency and intensity is accentuated as the number of births increases.
Dr. José Manuel Pintado
Medical Director and Head of the Reproduction Unit of the Pintado Medical Center