What are Braxton Hicks contractions?
After 20 weeks of pregnancy, you may have a tight feeling in your womb from time to time, or crampy feelings. These contractions are called Braxton Hicks contractions (also known as false contractions, and named after the doctor who discovered them) – they are your body preparing for giving birth, not the start of labour. Especially if your pregnancy is your first, the feeling may be quite strong and even painful. They should pass but consult your doctor or midwife if you’re concerned or the sensations don’t go away.
There’s more on contractions, early labour and labour in the book Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy.