Gather 'round, boys and girls...today we're going to talk about contractions!
No, not real contractions. I'm talking about a fun little thing called a Braxton Hicks contraction. Now, all the old mommy pros reading this blog are probably like, "yeah yeah yeah, big whoop", but to gals (and their hubbies!) who have never been through this before, I want to help you avoid a "wtf was that!" moment.
A Braxton Hicks contraction is your body "practicing" contractions for when you really do go into labor. You generally start to feel them around 28 weeks (mine started a little early but not by much), although really they can start anytime after the 1st trimester. The nice things about the BH contractions are a) they don't hurt, usually and b) they go away if you move around. Real contractions (so I'm told) do no such thing and will indeed hurt and will go away only when they damn well want to.
What does a Braxton Hicks contraction feel like, you ask? For me, my tummy tightens up really hard for a few minutes or until I shift positions or stretch. They've never hurt but they can be pretty uncomfortable. My doc says that dehydration can make them more intense or frequent, so preggos, make sure to constantly drink water or gatorade, especially in the summer.
My only complaint so far with BH contractions is that I tend to get them around 3 or 4 in the morning, waking me up and making me turn over to get rid of it. Beyond that, I figure practice makes perfect and my belly can BH away to its heart's content!