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Uterine contraction

Updated: 2023-07-29


Tightening of the uterus that occurs on and off during pregnancy and becomes more regular, closer together and stronger during labor.


A warm bath, gentle motion from a rocking chair or deep breaths through the contractions can help control pain. Birthing classes also may offer tips.

When to seek immediate medical care

See a health care professional right away if:

  • Six or more contractions an hour before 37 weeks of pregnancy that last one minute and don't ease with rest, drinking fluids or lying on the side.
  • Clear fluid or bleeding occurs with contractions.
  • Active labor starts or a health care professional says to go to a hospital.

When to make a doctor's appointment

Make an appointment to see a health care professional if:

  • Not sure what the contractions are.