Increasing Contractions in Pregnancy
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Reviewed By:

Ravi P. Chokshi, MD

Ravi P. Chokshi, MD (Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN), Critical Care)

Current Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow with Dual board certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Critical Care Medicine. | 5+ years experience managing a general Ob/Gyn practice and working in the Intensive Care Unit. | Previously Physician Lead of a large single specialty practice with 8 Physicians and 10+ Advanced practitioners. | Member of the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine Patient education committee. | Frequent Medscape Consult contributor.

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD (Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN))

Dr. Kanazawa graduated from the Niigata University Faculty of Medicine and received his Ph.D. from the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. He is working on the front line of the General Perinatal Center, including the Tokyo Tama General Medical Center and the National Center for Research in Fertility Medicine, where he provides maternal and fetal care and undertakes clinical research. At Ubie, Dr. Kanazawa has been designing the Ubie AI Symptom Checker and has taken on the role of general obstetrics and gynecology consultation at FMC Tokyo Clinic by providing fetal ultrasound and prenatal consultation.

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  • Uterine contractions occur very close to one another

  • Uterine contractions occur very frequently

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Content updated on Oct 10, 2023

About the symptom

Contractions in pregnancy refer to the uterus tightening and relaxing. Regular contractions that are increasing in pain and closer in timing indicate the start of labor.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Increasing contractions in pregnancy

Possible causes

  • Threatened abortion

    A threatened abortion or miscarriage are the same condition. A patient may present with vaginal bleeding or cramping in early pregnancy, but an ultrasound will show a live fetus (baby) and the patients cervix will be closed. The majority of these patients will continue to have a normal pregnancy, but some will progress to complete miscarriage.

Related serious diseases

  • Placental abruption

    This is a condition during pregnancy where the placenta separates from the uterus before the fetus is born. Since the placenta is rich in blood supply and provides oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, separation can result in significant vaginal bleeding and cut off oxygen supply to the fetus, endangering both mother and child. Common causes include abdominal trauma in pregnancy such as being in a motor vehicle accident or falling on your abdomen. Other causes are also possible. Symptoms typically include vaginal bleeding and abdominal or pelvic pain similar to contractions. Any such concerns in pregnancy should seek emergency care.

  • Threatened preterm labor

  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
  • Premature rupture of membranes

  • Chorioamnionitis

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Are you having frequent uterine contractions?

Other Related Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

References

  • Raines DA, Cooper DB. Braxton Hicks Contractions. [Updated 2023 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470546/

  • Hutchison J, Mahdy H, Hutchison J. Stages of Labor. [Updated 2023 Jan 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544290/

  • Leathersich SJ, Vogel JP, Tran TS, Hofmeyr GJ. Acute tocolysis for uterine tachysystole or suspected fetal distress. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Jul 4;7(7):CD009770. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009770.pub2. PMID: 29971813; PMCID: PMC6513259.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513259/

  • ACOG Practice Bulletin

    https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-bulletin/articles/2009/08/induction-of-labor

Reviewed By:

Ravi P. Chokshi, MD

Ravi P. Chokshi, MD (Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN), Critical Care)

Current Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow with Dual board certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Critical Care Medicine. | 5+ years experience managing a general Ob/Gyn practice and working in the Intensive Care Unit. | Previously Physician Lead of a large single specialty practice with 8 Physicians and 10+ Advanced practitioners. | Member of the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine Patient education committee. | Frequent Medscape Consult contributor.

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD (Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN))

Dr. Kanazawa graduated from the Niigata University Faculty of Medicine and received his Ph.D. from the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. He is working on the front line of the General Perinatal Center, including the Tokyo Tama General Medical Center and the National Center for Research in Fertility Medicine, where he provides maternal and fetal care and undertakes clinical research. At Ubie, Dr. Kanazawa has been designing the Ubie AI Symptom Checker and has taken on the role of general obstetrics and gynecology consultation at FMC Tokyo Clinic by providing fetal ultrasound and prenatal consultation.

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