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You thought that the contractions were triggered only at the time of delivery? Mistake ! They accompany you throughout your pregnancy. Explanations.
- They nail you with pain on the work table. And yet, without contractions, no childbirth! Not only are they essential for opening the cervix and pushing your baby to the exit, but their role starts much further upstream during pregnancy.
Is it normal to have contractions during pregnancy?
- It's perfectly natural! All the muscles in your body contract many times in the course of a day. It's the same for the uterus.
- Thanks to ultrasound recordings, it has been established that the uterine muscle, even outside a pregnancy, has a very active life. Regularly, it is animated of contractions in all directions: from the neck towards the bottom of the uterus, from the bottom of the uterus towards the neck, in both directions at the same time!
- During pregnancy, there is even more reason to "tense up". Especially when the fetus reaches a size sufficient to touch the uterine walls. The slightest kick or fist then acts as a stimulation that causes a contraction. It is only then, around the 4th month, that you begin to perceive these natural and physiological contractions, which have been present since the beginning of pregnancy ... and even before!
- Even if they are painless, you recognize them easily: your belly becomes hard for a few seconds, then relaxes.
Do contractions have utility?
- Nature being very well done, these contractions are not lost for everyone! The uterine muscle benefits directly: it promotes its stretching and will help the tripling of the length of the fibers that compose it between the beginning and the end of the pregnancy.
- Second interest, this time circulatory: the contractions help empty the uterine veins and fill them with well oxygenated blood. And then, especially, these contractions, called "Braxton Hicks", the name of the English obstetrician who first described them in 1872, constitute a training before the day D of childbirth. The uterus is a sort of reinforcement and can contract at full speed when you have to give up the cervix and open the way for your baby.
- Because it must be understood: these painless contractions that punctuate the pregnancy have no effect on the cervix. They do not weaken it or open it. They are only a "dress rehearsal".
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