Pushing and Tightenings at 36 Weeks

Cynthia Flynn's picture
Experts: 

QUESTION

Hi,
I'm 36 weeks pregnant with second child, my first was born at 38 weeks. I'm a little concerned as I never experienced Braxton-Hicks on my first and I believe I have been having then on this pregnancy.

I have been having tightenings and a lot of pushing down pressure where I feel like my body is pushing on its own. I'm slightly concerned as to what is going on. Is this Braxton Hicks or is this early labor?

I'm not actually having any pain; it just feels very uncomfortable like she is pushing down on a full bladder and it makes me feel like I could wee loads even when I have just been. I have been getting this for the last week. What could it be do you think?

Many thanks.

ANSWER

Most women feel many more Braxton-Hicks with a second child than with a first, and they feel them earlier. This is normal. If you didn't stop picking up your toddler at 20 weeks like you were supposed to, now would be a very good time; it's not good to wait until the baby is born to stop picking up the older child anyway, but it can also cause extra Braxton Hicks contractions.

The best predictor of when your second child will come is when your first child came, but every pregnancy is different, so there is a lot of variation. How you can tell whether it is B-H or early labor is that labor contractions get longer and stronger and closer together (even if they don't hurt), and there are usually more than 4 in an hour. If that happens two hours in a row, it is a good idea to check in with your provider and let her/him know what is going on. Good luck!