6 Types of Contractions

6 Types of Contractions

Last update: 07 July, 2018

Most women don’t have a lot of in-depth knowledge about contractions. It’s good to know that there are several different types of contractions and how to identify them.

Yes, there are different types of contractions and they accompany a future mother throughout her pregnancy. They all involve the same muscle: the uterus, which is strong enough to help expel the baby into the outside world.

The uterus’s work begins long before labor. Given its importance and role, it performs certain exercises throughout the 9 months of pregnancy.

Learn about the different types of contractions

Contractions facilitate the circulation of blood through the uterus and the placenta. They are also important to keep the uterus in shape.

So why do they occur? Because the uterus, among its other functions, helps the baby position itself in the proper way to facilitate exit from the womb.

The following are the different types of contractions that a pregnant woman can experience:

1. A contractions:

These are the first contractions that occur and they last until the 28th week of gestation. These are known as A contractions. They’re usually low intensity and low frequency; therefore, they can even go unnoticed.

2. Focal contractions:

These contractions occur as a result of the baby’s movements. They’re low intensity and usually only occur in one area of the uterus.

6 Types of Contractions

3. Generalized contractions:

These contractions are similar to the ones mentioned above, however rather than being focused in one area of the uterus, they spread through the whole uterus.

They can be produced as a result of movements made by the baby or by physical effort. They may also occur as a pregnant woman changes position or as a sign that the bladder is full.

“Contractions are known as the hardening of the abdomen as a result of the activity of the uterine muscles.”
– Mario Romeo

4. Braxton Hicks contractions:

These types of contractions differ from the rest because the abdomen contracts without producing pain. They last for between 30 and 60 seconds.

Some mothers start to feel these contractions from the 13th week of pregnancy.

These contractions usually appear during the second trimester.

5. Pre-partum contractions:

These contractions are a bit more intense than Braxton Hicks contractions. They occur during the last two weeks of pregnancy. As its name implies, they announce that labor will begin shortly.

These contractions occur regularly in order to prepare the cervix for labor.

6. Labor contractions:

These contractions are the definitive ones and they occur right before delivery. They occur regularly and intensely. Labor contractions occur up to 3 to 5 times every 10 minutes.  

As labor progresses, they occur more frequently. They can last for between 60 to 90 seconds.

The pain and intensity of these contractions increase as the time nears to expel the baby.

Those who have already gone through labor express that, although these contractions are intense, they are also satisfactory because the effort brings them closer to seeing their baby for the first time.

6 Types of Contractions

Tips to reduce the frequency of contractions

Avoid the following factors in order to reduce the frequency of contractions:

  • Negative emotions: Intense arguments, stressful situations at home and at work or the illness of a close relative are all emotions that are difficult to handle.
  • Anything that generates excess stress can trigger more contractions than those caused by physical activity.
  • Physical effort: avoid running, moving quickly, sitting or standing abruptly. Avoid carrying weights for long periods.

Keep in mind that excesses are harmful for your health. This is true especially if you’re pregnant.

Therefore, it’s important to take good care of yourself. It’s also important to recognize the different types of contractions in order to learn how to act appropriately towards them.

Consult your doctor in order to convey any more worries you may have about contractions.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.