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.