When I was pregnant with Margaret, I remember having Braxton Hicks contractions during the last few months. They were painless and I'd only notice them if I happened to touch my belly and realize that it was hard as a rock. I then went on to have a long labor with Margaret (44 hours) and pretty rough afterpains for 2-3 days.
Monday, July 16, 2012
I've always felt that those afterpains were a direct result of the long labor. "They" say that for the first child, you don't normally feel afterpains, but that they do get subsequently harder each child. I figured I was "lucky" enough to have hard afterpains after the first because the labor was long and after two days of my uterus working hard, my uterus was fatigued and my afterpains were amplified by muscle soreness.
With Isaac I started noticing Braxton Hicks pretty early- about 15 weeks? Maybe a little earlier. They felt like dull period cramps. I didn't really get back into shape between Margaret and Isaac, so I assumed that feeling the Braxton Hicks contractions was leftover uterus weariness. It's not like you can really "work out" your uterus between pregnancies anyway. Not consciously, at least. By the end of my pregnancy with Isaac, I remember having regular Braxton Hicks- even 5 minutes apart, almost labor-like, if I sat in certain positions. I remember one 2-hour car ride that was just miserable. I wasn't in labor but they were very regular and painful. I just attributed those rough Braxton Hicks to a tired uterus from my first pregnancy. I also decided that if Braxton Hicks were bad while riding in a car, labor contractions would really suck and that if I could avoid needing to drive or ride in a car during labor, I would.
Then my afterpains... Oh dear. They lasted for a while, at least 5 days. My labor with Isaac wasn't long (5 and a half hours), but it was intense. Again, I figured my lack of getting back into shape and my first hard labor was contributing to my tired uterus.
This time around I started feeling Braxton Hicks at 7 weeks. They aren't painful (yet), but I definitely notice them. I did get back into shape, so I was hoping the aches and pains of pregnancy would hold off, but I guess I'm not lucky like that.
The transition from hard afterpains with Margaret to early and more difficult Braxton Hicks with Isaac has made me think there might be a connection between feeling Braxton Hicks contractions and strong afterpains, but to my knowledge, there hasn't been any research connecting the two. I'm a sample size of 1, so my experience could be an outlier. Maybe my uterus is tired. Or maybe I'm just more aware of what it is doing.
Has anyone felt like there's a connection? It seems to me that a tired uterus is going to lend itself to harder afterpains and more noticeable Braxton Hicks, but it's just a hypothesis. I'm a little worried about the afterpains I'm going to experience after this next baby. The only thing I can think to do for it is to drink some red raspberry leaf tea in hopes that it'll tone my uterus and help stave off the harder afterpain contractions. Or maybe I should take a birthing class to learn techniques for mitigating pain in labor and use those for my afterpains. Or just take a bunch of painkillers when the time comes.
Is there anything to do to prevent hard afterpains? Do you think a tired uterus is just going to be tired? And have you noticed a relationship between Braxton Hick and afterpains?