The term originated in 1872 from an English doctor named John Braxton Hicks who described the contractions that occur before real labor.
Braxton Hicks contractions can begin as early as the second trimester. However they are most commonly experienced in the third trimester. When this happens, the muscles of the uterus tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds and sometimes as long as two minutes. Braxton Hicks are also called “practice contractions” because they are a preparation for the real event.
The following are triggers of Braxton Hicks:
When mother or the baby are very active
If someone touches the mother’s belly
When the bladder is full
Braxton Hicks are described as:
Irregular in intensity
More uncomfortable than painful (although for some women Braxton Hicks can feel painful)
They do not increase in intensity, or frequency
They taper off and then disappear altogether