The Irritable Uterus During Pregnancy

I have an irritable uterus. Not only is it irritable, but it’s irritating.

I’m currently 28 weeks pregnant with my 7th child and it’s doing its thing once again, just like it did during all my other pregnancies.

I had no idea what an irritable uterus was during my first 4 pregnancies. My doctor didn’t tell me or anything–I had to discover it for myself through research.

An irritable uterus is pretty much just that–a uterus that is irritated during pregnancy. It isn’t happy & calm…it’s just the opposite and pitches its fit by contracting.

You’ve probably heard of the term “Braxton Hicks” contractions. These contractions are just practice contractions that happen every so often. They don’t hurt, however they can be rather uncomfortable at times and many women mistaken them for the real thing.

Contractions from an irritable uterus are not Braxton Hicks contractions and they aren’t labor contractions. They don’t occur just every once in a while, and they can definitely be mistaken for the real thing because of their frequency. I’ve gone to the hospital multiple times each pregnancy because of the fear that I was possibly in real labor. And this, my dear readers, can get very irritating.

During the 25th week of my third pregnancy, I started noticing that my stomach would get very hard like all of the time. I would contract over and over again without ceasing…50+ times every day.

(I kept a pregnancy journal…)

I mentioned it to my doctor during my 28 week check up (3rd pregnancy) & he was concerned. He said I shouldn’t have been having more than 3 or 4 contractions an hour–and not every hour at all–so after some tests and ultrasounds, I was put on bed rest. I could go into detail about the tests & ultrasounds–and I will–but I really need to devote the two to another post, which will be coming very soon.

I was put on bed rest, but contractions really never settled down.

I ended up being put in the hospital at 30 weeks after about a week & 1/2 of non-stop contractions & an effaced cervix (75% thinned) and was given Magnesium Sulfate, “the evil drug”, as my nurses called it. (That post is coming soon, as well.) I was 30 weeks at this point and Magnesium did put an end to my contractions for a few weeks. I was almost 33 weeks when they started up again, however I did not go into labor because of them. I delivered a healthy baby boy at 38 weeks after being induced.

That was 8 years ago. Since 2010, I’ve been pregnant 4 more times and I’ve experienced the same thing during every pregnancy, including this one. I’ve never delivered a premature baby, despite my constant contractions, and I’ve never had any more treatment since my 3rd pregnancy.

This is just my NORMAL. My irritable uterus is my normal. It’s nothing I can prevent. It’s nothing I need to worry about, however I do need to listen to my body & slow down when contractions start to get intense.

There are things that can set off an irritable uterus, so if you are experiencing crazy contractions, you may want to consider these possible situations…

  • Dehydration can cause an irritable uterus to act up. You really need to drink a lot of water during pregnancy. For those with an irritable uterus, they need to drink even more. If you start having symptoms, lay down & drink drink drink.
  • Overworking yourself can irritate your uterus. I notice it most when I am up vacuuming, which I am obsessive about. I am constantly cleaning up with 6 kids, 3 cats, & a dog inside my house. My laundry never ever ceases and I cook almost every meal. We have horses, goats, & chickens. I over-do just about everything and I usually won’t stop until I’m satisfied, which is pretty stupid in my situation. Slow down & don’t be like me. I just keep going cause the irritable uterus thing no longer scares me like it used to.
  • Stress can cause an irritable uterus. Okay, there. Enough said. This may be my main culprit.
  • A full bladder, constipation, standing to quickly, staying on your feet for too long…etc…these are symptoms I’ve read other women talk about, so they may very well be reasons for your uterus to get its panties in a wad, but I’ve been on full bed rest with non-stop contractions, so they are really just situations other pregnant women have found themselves in. This may or may not be you.
  • An irritable uterus is an irritable uterus…sometimes it just is what it is. Most women don’t experience a true irritable uterus. I mean, after being pregnant as many times as I’ve been pregnant, with the internet at my fingertips for the last five, I would have surely read more on the subject during my fears if it were a regular occurrence among most pregnant women.
  • If you are just starting to have symptoms, the first thing I would do is take Naproxen (Aleve), lay down on your left side, and drink two full glasses of water within an hour and 1/2. This may quiet your uterus, however, if it does not, call your doctor or head to the office or emergency room just in case there really is something wrong…and especially if this is your first baby.
  • If this is not your first rodeo, and you experienced all the classic irritable uterus symptoms with your previous pregnancy and delivered full term, it is very likely that you will have an irritable uterus with every pregnancy thereafter. Unless you purchase a new uterus in between pregnancies or something. 🙄 So what I’m saying is this: your uterus is either irritable or not. It probably won’t have multiple personalities throughout its life.
  • Sometimes there is nothing you can do to ease an irritable uterus. There are times that nothing you do will help calm things down. I have had contractions 1-2 minutes apart for hours and hours…it’s just how it is sometimes. They stop when they’re ready to stop & start up again when they wish.

Here is a picture where I timed them during my 2nd pregnancy.So, if you are dealing with the stress of an irritable uterus, I sympathize with you completely. It’s no fun and it can scare you out of your mind. Your doctor will more than likely want to be overly cautious, which is obviously smart, but sometimes nothing can really be done if all you own is a uterus that gets irritated at the drop of a hat.

As irritating as an irritable uterus is, your baby is worth it, so hang in there, mama! The ride will be over soon enough.


About The Broody Chickhttp://www.thebroodychick.comI'm just a broody, southern pregnant girl who gets excited about pregnancy & being a mother & all the stuff that goes along with it. 😊

2 thoughts on “The Irritable Uterus During Pregnancy

  1. I’m currently at the end of my 5th pregnancy. An irritable uterus has become my norm since my 2nd. My doesn’t contract your though, when mine acts up it will make my tummy hard and it can literally stay that way for HOURS. I don’t feel the let ups in between that you were documenting. Mine is actually doing it right now and has been most of the day be I was up cleaning. It stinks but as long as you feel your baby moving I wouldn’t ever stress. I’ve never had a pre term baby so they don’t worry me – irritate me YES!


  2. Sorry I’m so late to reply—I was in the hospital having my baby! 😊 Yes….sometimes it did feel like my uterus would just not soften back up-especially towards the end. After my IV was inserted, I was given fluids & my contractions started spacing further & further apart. The slightest bit of dehydration makes my uterus angry, so drink as much as you can—you won’t be “dehydrated” in the normal sense, but your uterus will think so. So drink water until you think you can’t drink anymore & then drink some more. I also take Naproxen (Aleve) every 12 hours when it gets bad. I took it around the clock the five days leading up to my delivery. Good luck!! 🍀


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