Happy Thanksgiving! I have two things that I’ve been meaning to write about lately. One is practice contractions—I’ve always been prone to having a lot of warm-up contractions throughout my pregnancies. Sometimes called Braxton-Hicks contractions, I prefer to call them practice contractions, warm-up contractions, toning contractions, or—as you get closer to your due date—pre-labor contractions. I start being able to feel them pretty much as soon as my uterus rises out from below my pubic bone. During my first pregnancy, I got worried about preterm labor at about 22 weeks pregnant, because I was experiencing so many of them at that time. Later, I became concerned because they were lasting 10 minutes at a time, which seemed really unusual to me. My doctor at the time had no explanation as to why that was happening or suggestions to change it other than to take extra calcium. These uber-long contractions have never happened during another pregnancy, but having quite a few practice contractions seems to be my normal pattern. I also have wondered if they are related to drinking raspberry leaf tea. I drank it throughout my first two pregnancies. During this one, I decided not to drink it until the third trimester. I haven’t noticed any appreciable difference in contraction-action, however.
Towards the end of pregnancy, I have about four contractions per hour for the last month or so. I counted recently and right now, I’m only having about 20 per day (while I’m awake). That is still a nice lot of practice! I seem to have very efficient birthings and I have always wondered if there is a relationship between all this warm-up and the real thing! However, from most of my reading there does not actually seem to be any measurable relationship between amount of (discernable) contractions during pregnancy and actual length of labor (and, besides, the theory is that all women experience regular contractions throughout pregnancy and just don’t necessarily notice them, though I always wonder why not!). I’ve wondered for some time though about the various clients I’ve had who report that they have experienced no discernable practice contractions and have had very long labors.
My post about in-utero practice breathing during my first pregnancy has received more hits on this blog than almost anything else. Apparently, it is not an often written about experience and a lot of women appear to have found comfort in my post about it. In the last week or so, I’ve noticed Baby Girl practicing breathing as well! I don’t have a strong recollection of experiencing this with my second son. With my first son, it was one of the most interesting things about the pregnancy. With her, I notice it at night primarily for a regular period of time which is then followed by her having hiccups (from all her hard work!). 🙂