Pregnancy can bring with it all sorts of confusing symptoms. Bleeding? It might be common, it might not. Contractions? They might be Braxton-Hicks, they might be the real thing. So when you’re having contractions, how do you know when to be concerned and when to shrug them off as practice for labor?
Contractions by themselves are nothing to be afraid of, but if they are combined with any of these 7 symptoms, you should contact your doctor for further advice.
Contractions and These 7 Symptoms: Time to Call Your Doctor
1. Contractions that don’t go away. Braxton-Hicks contractions come and go seemingly at random. They don’t have a set definable pattern and they don’t get stronger or closer together as they occur.
If you are having contractions that you can time (10 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart, etc.) or they don’t go away when you use the bathroom or change your position, you should call your doctor.
2. Contractions accompanied by recent clumps of pink or bloody mucus. If you have used the bathroom recently and found yourself facing “bloody show,” and then you have steady contractions within a few days after that, you should call your doctor. This is common, but could be a sign of your body going into labor.
3. Fluid leaking from your vagina. You may feel like you wet yourself or your bed without realizing it, which is also common for many women during later stages of pregnancy. However, if this is accompanied by any signs of contractions, it is possible that your water (the bag of amniotic fluid) has broken and you are in labor.
4. Contractions that start in your back and move to your front. Braxton-Hicks are generally similar to a contraction in that they tighten and squeeze your uterus, but a real contraction may start in your back, move to your front, and become more painful over time.
5. Steady contractions that occur when you are less than 37 weeks pregnant. Braxton-Hicks can show up any time in later pregnancy, but if you are having steady contractions and you are less than 37 weeks pregnant, call your doctor to mention this and get their advice.
6. Your baby has been unusually inactive in the last few days. Pregnant women can usually feel their babies bouncing around and kicking in the later stages, especially as their babies get bigger and more active. When this inactivity is combined with contractions, it may be a sign of labor. However, if you are unsure, you can rent Bloomlife for smart pregnancy tracking, an app that measures your contractions for you.
7. Contractions that are accompanied by bleeding. No matter how far along you are, contractions that are accompanied by bleeding should always be checked by your doctor.
Always Call Your Doctor If You Are Unsure
When you are pregnant, there is never a stupid question. Technology can help you track your baby’s heartbeat and your contractions for your peace of mind, but your doctor is always the expert, so call if you are ever nervous about symptoms you are having.