- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Braxton Hicks' pregnancy sign

Alternative eponyms

  • Braxton Hicks' sign
  • Hicks’ sign

Synonyms

Synonyms: contractiones insensibiles uteri gravidarum, false labour, practice contractions.

Related people

Painless intermittent uterine contractions that may occur after three months of pregnancy in intervals of 10 to 20 minutes.

Description

Painless intermittent uterine contractions that may occur after three months of pregnancy in intervals of 10 to 20 minutes. These contractions do not represent true labour pains but are often so interpreted. The sign is not present in every pregnancy.

John Braxton Hicks investigated the latter stages of pregnancy and noted that many women felt contractions without being near birth. This process was usually painless but caused women confusion as to whether or not they were going into actual labour. It has since been found that Braxton Hicks' contractions are much less noticeable during exercise, whereas real contractions are not.

Bibliography

  • J. B. Hicks:
    On the contractions of the uterus throughout pregnancy: their physiological effects and their value in the diagnosis of pregnancy.
    Transactions of the Obstetrical Society of London, (1871), 1872, 13: 216-231.

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