Braxton Hicks overview at iVillage Pregnancy & Parenting

I am 28 weeks pregnant and experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions about 2 or 3 times/hour. Is this normal? I am also experiencing some pain just below my pubic bone, but only when I walk or lift my leg to get dressed or cross my legs. What could be causing this?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Although providers have always considered Braxton Hicks contractions to be normal, any time a woman notices any regularity to them or they are associated with pelvic or back cramping or pain, it is wise to report this to your midwife or doctor. A cervical check could rule out any premature effacement (thinning) or dilatation.

We have found that if we over-emphasize the normalcy of such contractions, we may discourage women from reporting these contractions and thus we might miss the possibility of preterm labor until it is too late to stop it.

Pain in the pubic area especially when lifting your leg (such as getting into a car) could be separation of the pubic symphysis. This normally stable joint softens during pregnancy under the effect of progesterone and in some women will no longer support the weight or changes in posture.

Elizabeth Noble talks about this in her book, "Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year". She tells you how to diagnose it and gives a few tips for management. Unfortunately, there is not a great deal you can do. Sometimes, localized heat or cold can help. Supporting the joint with a pillow when moving in bed or getting into a car is a good idea. A support garment such as light weight girdle or abdominal binder can stabilize the joint and minimize the pain. Analgesics can be recommended if the pain is severe. This problem does not necessarily go away immediately after the birth but can take a few months to heal.

Don't deny yourself pain relief or a referral to a physical therapist if this pain becomes very troublesome.

I hope this is short-lived. It can be very painful. Good luck.

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