Everything you go through for the first time is a learning experience, including pregnancy. One of those is figuring out labor contractions. Like many things about pregnancy, it doesn’t matter what you read or what others tell you about it. It’s different when you go through it yourself.
Many doctors and women describe labor contractions as the tightening of the belly. But there are two kinds: false and real labor contractions.
False contractions, also called Braxton Hicks, are infrequent, irregular, and unpredictable contractions. Usually, it’s not the whole tummy that tightens and goes away on its own when you change positions. Braxton Hicks typically starts as early as the second trimester. (Read more about false labor contractions here.)
Real labor contractions are described as belly tightening and pain that extends to your lower back and pelvic area. They come at regular intervals that become more frequent and closer together. Its intensity also continuously increases. This type of contraction opens up your cervix so your baby can pass through.
When you say intensity, the idea of labor contractions becomes relative. A person’s tolerance to pain varies. Maybe you’re not screaming in pain when you’re already six centimeters dilated. Still, some women are already suffering after dilating for one centimeter.
In Smart Parenting’s How Po Series Episode 2, entitled The New Normal In Pregnancy And Childbirth (Part 1), Dr. Maynila Domingo, obstetrician-gynecologist specializing in maternal-fetal medicine at ManilaMed in Manila City, shared a technique to check if you’re having contractions and whether they’re mild moderate or severe.
“If this is your first pregnancy, hindi na alam kung ano yung hilab at ano yung hindi. “Kung sabi sayo, tumitigas. E minsan matigas tiyan mo pag ihing-ihi ka, kapag constipated matigas ang tiyan,” Dr. Domingo says.
Her technique? Liken the hardness of the highest peak of your belly to parts of your face. Watch the video below to learn more.
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