As you near the end of your pregnancy, you're likely being overly cautious and nervous that anything you do will send you into labor. You've probably felt a tightening or a slight uncomfortable feeling in your belly that might trick you into thinking you've gone into labor too early. Never fear though, because these "practice contractions" are actually normal, and you're not in labor just yet. There are several things to know about Braxton Hicks contractions to help you differentiate between them and the real deal, because sometimes it can be hard to tell, especially for first time moms.
Unlike true labor contractions, Braxton Hicks contractions can be stopped. According to What To Expect, they're usually triggered by something simple and can be slowed or stopped by sitting down, putting your feet up, or drinking water. Although they may catch you off guard, according to Parents, thinking of them as "practice contractions" that help tone your uterus for labor will help you welcome them instead of fear them.
However, if you're having lots of Braxton Hicks, be sure to rest or drink water, as they can lead to pre-term labor if they're happening too frequently. Ultimately, Braxton Hicks are a sure sign that your pregnancy is almost over and soon you'll be able to meet the little one you've been nurturing for the past nine months.