Braxton Hicks contractions are preparatory contractions that occur starting from the second trimester of pregnancy and, in particular, in the last, especially in moments of physical activity or when the child is moving. How to recognize and manage them. The contractions of Braxton Hicks are preparatory contractions, also called “false contractions”, they occur starting from the second trimester of pregnancy and, in particular, in the last, especially in moments of physical activity or when the child moves. Here’s how to recognize them and manage them better.

BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS: WHAT ARE THEY?

The contractions Braxton Hicks are named John Braxton Hicks, the English physician specializing in obstetrics who first identified it in 1872, as a result of his many studies of the fetus and the pregnancy. These contractions serve as preparation for the labor childbirth , since they allow the uterus to prepare for the event. They manifest themselves through a hardening of the belly which lasts 30/60 seconds and which occurs above all in certain circumstances. These are spasms rather than contractions in the strict sense and involve the area of ​​the abdomen.

BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS: THAT’S WHEN THEY MANIFEST

Not all expectant women experience the contractions of Braxton Hicks: usually such “false” contractions occur starting from the second trimester of pregnancy and in particular in the last trimester, especially in moments of physical activity in response to efforts or when the child it moves. This is one of the many reasons why proper hydration is essential in pregnancy, aimed at preventing and / or managing, among other things, even the cramping symptoms due to electrolyte imbalances. The contractions of labor differ because they are much more regular and painful, and are characterized by a longer duration. Furthermore, they usually start from the lower back area and then reach the abdomen, and vice versa; may be accompanied by blood loss and followed by water breakage.You can pills to get pregnant fast.

WHAT TO DO WHEN BRAXTON HICKS CONTRACTIONS ARE FREQUENT

Braxton Hicks contractions

If the preparatory contractions become more frequent and if they do not subside changing position or doing some movement, it is good to consult the doctor. In any case it is necessary to refer to your gynecologist if you have doubts about the nature of the spasms, as they could actually be serious symptoms and problems. care must be taken in particular if the contractions are accompanied by fluid leaks or blood loss . Again, it is absolutely essential to seek medical attention in other specific cases: when the pregnancy is less than the 37th week and gives room for regular contractions that may indicate the approach of a premature birth, or when the child seems to move less frequently. Counting fetal movements can be a valuable tool to learn more, as long as it is done correctly and with the right calm, without getting caught up in anxiety .

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE AMNIOTIC FLUID IS TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE

The amniotic fluid is the liquid that wraps the baby in the belly during the nine months of pregnancy. It is thanks to the amniotic fluid that the fetus remains warm and protected, and takes on all the substances to grow well. The amniotic fluid  is found inside the amnions (an embryonic appendage that forms a membranous sac that surrounds and protects the embryo) and allows the child to grow in a perfect environment, at the right temperature, protected from infection and trauma. Through the amniotic fluid the fetus develops correctly avoiding distorting the anatomical structures of the body, the digestive and respiratory systems. The amniotic fluid comes out of the amniotic sac and also helps the baby to get out of the belly at birth. The liquid consists of a mixture of water, mineral salts, lipids and proteins. It is produced from the mother’s plasma through the placenta . From the third to fourth month, it is mainly secreted by the kidney through fetal urine, which also guarantees control and replacement during the following months.

WHAT COLOR CAN AMNIOTIC FLUID BE?

In most cases the amniotic fluid is colorless , therefore it appears transparent. To assess the color of the liquid, amniocentesis is used , which also provides a cytogenetic examination of the fetus. Amnioscopy is done starting from the 16-20 week. The liquid can sometimes be greenish in color. In this case it may be some intestinal losses combined with epithelial cells: it is not a pathological dysfunction, and can therefore be caused by stress, compression of the umbilical cord which causes sphincter relaxation with intestinal contents leakage. When the liquid is red or brown, it is rather a matter of blood loss, more or less recent. They are bleeding due to the detachment of the placenta or rupture of the fetal vessels, and in this case it is therefore a more serious symptom.

HOW TO CALCULATE THE AMOUNT OF AMNIOTIC FLUID

The amount of amniotic fluid present in the amniotic sac during pregnancy can be detected by an ultrasound scan . The uterus is generally divided into 4 quadrants. Through the measurement of the maximum liquid flaps in the uterus quadrants, the Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI) is obtained . The amount of amniotic fluid must always be checked, as it must remain between 5 and 20 cm to be normal. Thanks to AFI it is possible to discover any situations in which there is too much amniotic fluid or too little. If the level is lower than the norm we speak of oligohydramnios , while if it is much higher we speak of polydramnios amniotic-liquid-belly

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE IS LITTLE AMNIOTIC FLUID

When the AFI index has a value less than 5.1 cm, it is called oligohydramnios . This condition affects about 1% of pregnancies and is manifested by the presence of little amniotic fluid, caused by situations of stress of the mother or problems of the renal or urinary tract of the fetus. There may be low fluid intake by the mother, increased resorption, impaired permeability of the membranes, such as during vaginal infections, or more serious situations such as rupture of the membranes, fetal growth retardation, and fetal malformation disorders, especially against the urinary tract.

The amount of amniotic fluid also decreases by approaching or exceeding the end of the pregnancy. The consequences of oligohydramnios are different, since there is little amniotic fluid, fetal development deficits occur. The liquid is not able to permeate the fetal lungs, causing atelectasis  (the organs do not relax as they should), and insufficiencies in lung development. Furthermore, since the protective component of the amniotic fluid is missing, the fetus is crushed against the uterine walls, with reduced fetal movements and consequent malformative pathologies such as the congenital clubfoot. In the event that the condition persists too long, a general fetal underdevelopment could occur

In the first case the main source of increased urinary output is the gestational diabetes of the mother, which often causes macrosomia in the child raising the level of sugars in the fetus’s blood very much. This is why the child urinates more. But it can also be caused by Fetal-Fetal Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) in the recipient twin: in this situation, two or more twins share the same placenta and the same chorion, and an alteration of the fetal circulation may occur which results in an unequal distribution of the amount of blood carried from the placenta to the twins. Finally it can present fetal hydrops, an accumulation of fluid at the level of the allantois itself and of the amniotic sac. The reduced swallowing of the fetus can be caused by obstructions of the gastrointestinal tract, very difficult to identify in the uterus, and neuromuscular pathologies that are easily excluded by noting the movements of the fetus. Or even from anencephaly, a disease that causes the fetus’s difficulty in swallowing as symptoms, but is already excluded with the first ultrasound scans. However, polydramnios does not cause serious harm to the child and the mother. In the case in which this instead presents difficulty of breathing or pains for the mother or the fetus, it can proceed with an emptying called amnioriduzione . The risks are more frequent at the time of delivery, which can occur pre-term, or can lead to the birth of the child with malformations such as macrosomia.

LOSSES OF AMNIOTIC FLUID

During pregnancy it is possible that different types of leakage may occur , and it is therefore important to recognize when it comes to vaginal discharge and when to have amniotic fluid. Usually the losses of amniotic fluid represent the approach of the breaking of the waters and therefore of the labor . The amniotic fluid is warm, colorless and odorless and does not cause any type of discomfort or pain in the woman, since the amniotic sac has no nerve endings. Vaginal discharge in pregnancy, such as gonorrheal , is more sticky. If the loss of liquid is low, the mother only feels wet panties, even several times a day. If the losses begin to increase, it is good to go to the hospital, because it means that the birth is getting closer.