Tightening of uterine muscles during pregnancy, often referring to contractions during childbirth.


Keep a record of when contractions start. Note how strong they are and how much time passes from the start of one contraction to the next. Change positions or walk around to see if the contractions stop.

When to seek immediate medical care

See a healthcare professional right away if:

  • Vaginal bleeding soaks pads.
  • Severe pain doesn't let up between contractions.
  • Watery vaginal discharge gushes or trickles.
  • Belly cramps get worse.
  • Baby moves less than usual or doesn't move at all.
  • Contractions are five or 10 minutes apart, last one minute and don't go away with rest.
  • Pregnancy is less than 37 weeks.