Braxton hick's contraction and real uterine contraction are totally different. Uterus goes through tremendous changes during pregnancy.
Enlargement is seen during pregnancy. This enlargement is because of the
Hypertrophy: muscle fibre increases in length and breath
Stretching: growing foetus puts pressure on the wall of the uterus and it stretches. It happens after 20 weeks
Hyperplasia: there is also an addition of new muscle fibre. It increases the existing muscle mass. Changes are seen in pattern of muscle in uterus.
It has 3 layers
- Inner most layer: They are located near internal OS. They have sphincter like action. These are circular muscles.
- Intermediate layer: They are responsible for the labour pain. This layer of muscle is the thickest layer. They are arranged in cross manner covering blood vessel. When women get pain because of the muscle contraction, blood vessels get occult.
- Outer layer: They are situated over the upper end of uterus. These are longitudinal muscle.
Braxton hick's contraction-salient features are as follows
- They are present during pregnancy
- They are found in 2nd trimester and increase in 3rd trimester of pregnancy
- They are spontaneous in origin
- Excited by rubbing the abdominal wall
- They are basically infrequent
- No regularity is seen
- They are spasmodic in nature
- They do not produce any effect on the cervix. It does not lead to dilatation of cervix
- Patient doesn't know about this contraction woman is unaware about this
- In extra uterine pregnancy this contraction is not felt
Braxton hicks VS real contraction
Braxton hick's contraction appears for short time span and timings are nearly fixed.
In first stage, the real contraction last for few seconds than gradually increases in duration as labour process advances and time between two subsequent contraction reduces uterine contraction appear frequently.
Intensity of pain
Braxton hicks contraction are mostly painless or mild pain woman are not aware about it. Braxton hicks contraction are mild, spasmodic and non-progressive where as real contraction are extremely painful. They increases in intensity with stages of labour
Braxton hicks contraction are irregular they are infrequent in nature, where as real contraction are regular in nature. In the first stage every contraction remains for 30 seconds, subsequently they increase in duration. Time distance between two contractions reduces as the labour progresses. Interval gets shortened with advancement of labour.
Effect on cervix
Braxton hick's contraction does not produce any effect on cervix. They don't cause dilatation of cervix. Where as in case of real contraction cervical changes are seen real contraction produces dilatation of cervix and taking up of cervix
True labour pain produces show, cervical mucous secretion admixed with blood is called show.
Because of the dilatation of cervical canal, foetal membrane becomes loose and unsupported and hence they protrude in cervical canal. It produces bag of water appearance.