Hot Flashes and Tightening Stomach?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
Hello. My name is Jessica. I'm 20 years old and pregnant. I'm due August 3rd (1 week from tomorrow). My question to you is this. Every now and then my stomach tightens and I get really hot, like a hot flash. It lasts only briefly, but I don't feel any contractions or at least I don't think I'm having them. I was wondering if this was normal. I couldn't find anything about it on the internet and I thought maybe you could help me out. Thank you so much.

ANSWER

What you are feeling is Braxton-Hicks contractions. They help to get the baby into position for birthing, soften your cervix and move it from the back to the front of your vagina, and efface the cervix. These are all needed to get ready for labor and are perfectly normal.

I'll be thinking of you -- good luck!

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.