Your body may now begin to practice for labor

Around this stage of your pregnancy, you may be experiencing "false" labor pains or Braxton Hicks contractions. These are contractions of your uterus in preparation for actual labour. They tone the muscles in your uterus and also help prepare the cervix for birth. They are not a sign that labor has begun or is getting ready to begin. These are perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

Braxton Hicks contractions feel like muscles tightening across your abdomen, and if you put your hands on your belly when the contractions happen, you can probably feel your uterus becoming hard.

Braxton Hicks contractions may occur from early in your pregnancy but you may not feel them until the second trimester. If this is your first pregnancy, you could start to feel them from about 16 weeks. In later pregnancies, you may feel Braxton Hicks contractions more often, or earlier. Some women do not feel them at all.

Braxton Hicks contractions come and go irregularly, and usually last for about 30 seconds. While they can be uncomfortable, they usually aren’t painful. Try the following to ease the discomfort:

•Take a walk. False labor contractions often stop when you change position or move about. •If you've been very active, get some sleep or rest. •Relax by listening to music or by taking a warm bath. •Get a light massage

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