Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size
A
A
A

Early Contractions

Sometime during your second or third trimester, you might start to feel mild, sporadic contractions, especially when you are tired or dehydrated, or after sex. These normal contractions, called Braxton Hicks contractions or false labor, are your body's way of rehearsing for birth. Think of them as a kind of warm-up for true labor. Braxton Hicks contractions feel like a tightening of your abdomen, something like a sit-up. They are usually mild and painless. Other times it can be more painful. You might worry you are going into true labor, but these early contractions don't happen at regular intervals and they don't dilate your cervix.

As you get closer to your delivery, Braxton Hicks contractions may intensify.

Call Doctor If:

  • You have any bleeding or fluid leaking from your vagina.
  • Contractions are regular, close, and last 30 to 90 seconds. This could be real labor, whether you are near your due date or not.

Step-by-Step Care:

  • Breathe through it.
  • Try emptying your bladder.
  • Change positions. Lie down if you’ve been standing. Move around if you’ve been sitting. Braxton Hicks contractions usually stop when you move around.
  • Drink some water. The contractions can be triggered by dehydration.
  • Take a warm bath.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on June 06, 2014

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
 
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
 
slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 
pregnant woman
Article
Woman looking at pregnancy test
Quiz
 
calendar and baby buggy
Tool
dark chocolate squares
Slideshow