Lately I've been noticing that my abdomen will tighten up sometimes. And by tighten up, I mean get rock hard for about a minute at a time. No sit-ups or crunches or deliberate ab workout of any kind going on here... nope. Just rock hard abs. How can this be, you ask?
Apparently, my body is 'practicing' for labor. Those are my uterine muscles contracting- putting in a good workout all on their own in an effort to get stronger. Preparing for D-Day. 14 weeks out. Seems like a good time for them to start their training plan.
I looked it up online to see what was going on. My body has been doing all sorts of weird stuff for the last 26 weeks; all apparently normal pregnancy behavior, but weird nonetheless. I always figure that as long as I don't start bleeding, everything is fine. I'm not much of a worrier I guess. Anyway, the latest with the contractions appear to be "Braxton Hicks contractions". The American Pregnancy Association has this to say about Braxton Hicks:
What are Braxton Hicks contractions?
Braxton Hicks contractions can begin as early as the second trimester, however they are most common in the third trimester. The muscles of your uterus tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds or as long as 2 minutes. Braxton Hicks are also called “practice contractions” because they will prepare you for the real thing and you can practice the breathing exercises you are learning in your childbirth classes.
Braxton Hicks are described as:
Irregular in intensity
More uncomfortable than painful
They do not increase in intensity, or frequency
They taper off and then disappear altogether
If your contractions are easing up in any way, they are most likely Braxton Hicks.
What causes Braxton Hicks contractions?
There are a few speculations for why women have these contractions. Some physicians and midwives think they may play a part in toning the uterine muscle and promoting the flow of blood to the placenta. They are not believed to have any connection with dilating the cervix, but may have some effect on the softening of the cervix. However, as Braxton Hicks contractions become more intense closer to the time of delivery, the contractions are considered false labor, which can help in the dilation and effacement process.
So there you go. Training Plan for my uterus. I wonder if I'll get a good taper in before the main event?