Normally we speak of contractions to refer to labor contractions, but there are several types of contractions, whose function and characteristics vary throughout the pregnancy. But before we talk about contractions in pregnancy, have to inform the body responsible for these to occur: the uterus. It is a smooth muscle can contract and exert enough pressure to expel the baby at the time of childbirth. Like all tissues composed of muscle fibers, has a phase of contraction and relaxation. But the uterus does not begin to operate at the time of childbirth, as going by exercising throughout the nine months of pregnancy.

The function of contractions is facilitating the circulation of the blood by placenta and the uterine muscle, and keep in shape and with good performance to the uterus for when childbirth comes. Towards the end of the pregnancy, they will help erase the neck of the uterus and the baby is placed in the birth canal. Then we will know the characteristics of the contractions, types of contractions and in a next post will talk about something that worries many pregnant: how to differentiate false contractions labor contractions. Contractions (or Alvarez): present in the initial stages and up to 28 weeks. They are very low intensity (2-4 mmHg) and low frequency. They are not never perceived by the pregnant woman. Focal contractions: are contractions of low intensity (less than 10mmHg) located in small air of the uterus.

They usually occur as a reaction to a baby’s movement. Generalized contractions: they begin in an area but extend to the rest of the uterus. They can be produced by the baby’s movements or efforts, or the mother’s position changes. Braxton Kicks contractions: they have an intensity of between 10-15 mmHg. They are propagated in an area more large uterus, hardens the gut but there is no pain. They last approximately 30-60 seconds. Its frequency is low (1/hour), but increases as the pregnancy develops. They can appear from week 13 but normal It is to begin to notice towards the second half of pregnancy. They are arrhythmic, irregular, painless contractions. Prepartum contractions: they are more intense than Braxton Hicks contractions but they are not themselves labor. They may appear a few days before childbirth and indicate that the moment is coming. Its function is the ripening and softening of the cervix. They are more frequent and can cause discomfort its intensity is 20 mmHg but they can reach 30 mmHg every 5-10 minutes but are not rhythmic. Labor contractions: are regular, progressive and intense. Each regular periods with a frequency of 3-5 contractions occur every 10 minutes. Increase your duration reaching last approximately between 60 and 90 seconds. And they are painful, its intensity is 30mmHg above and in the expulsive can reach 60 mmHg. Knowing better the different types of contractions that occur in pregnancy it will be easier to recognize them when they occur. In another post will discuss specifically how differentiating false contractions of the true labor contractions.

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