Braxton Hicks. Every expectant mother has heard those words. Braxton Hicks contractions are the warm-up to the real thing, essentially, practicing for the big day. As the due date approaches, women become accustomed to feeling the tightening of Braxton Hicks contractions. At least, that’s what the expectant mother thinks she is feeling.
For first-time mothers, pregnancy is a guessing game. Having never gone through labor before, they have no way to tell a Braxton Hicks contraction from any other type of contraction. They have no way to know if that uncomfortable tightening is just practice, or if they are actually in preterm labor. All they can do is rely on the experts. So mothers-to-be ask their physicians for help, and all too often they are told the contractions are Braxton Hicks. Many women don’t protest, even though the contractions are much more painful than Braxton Hicks contractions should be because they are afraid the doctor or nurse will make them feel like a wimp. The woman in premature labor is sent home, only to return hours or a day later, with the contractions having progressed to a point where it is too late to stop them.
No two pregnancies are the same, even if doctors and nurses want to treat them like they are. And with the long-term health issues that correlate with premature birth, there should be more of an insistence that healthcare professionals treat each pregnancy as different. Now, there is even research that indicates babies born prematurely have more social difficulties later in life, including difficulties making friends and finding the right person to marry.
Expectant mothers should be well aware of the signs of preterm labor, which include:
- Contractions closer together than every ten minutes
- Lower backache
- Fluid or other vaginal discharge
- Flu like systems
Many women who had these symptoms and went on to deliver prematurely asked a medical professional for help, and were sent away. If you were one of those women, and if you suspect your child’s health or your health suffered because doctors and nurses failed to help you when they should have, please contact an attorney. The only way to change the bad habits of doctors and nurses is to apply pressure, and you need a lawyer to help you know how to apply that pressure.