A contraction, also known as a uterine contraction, is a muscle contraction of the uterine smooth muscle. It refers specifically to the motion of the uterus as part of the process of childbirth. Contractions, and labor in general, is one condition that releases the hormone oxytocin into the body. Contractions become longer as labor intensifies.

Prior to actual labor, women may experience Braxton Hicks contractions, sometimes known as “false labor.”

Since every pregnancy is different, a doctor, midwife or other competent professional should always be consulted before any action is taken to reduce the pain. Some popular methods may be harmful to the mother and/or the baby, or may actually worsen the pain or lengthen the labor.

Uterine contractions during childbirth can be monitored by tocography, in which a device called a tocodynamometer, which has a flat area that is fixated to the skin by a band around the belly. The pressure required to flatten a section of the wall correlates with the internal pressure, thereby providing an estimate of it.

Uterine contraction. (2016, July 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:57, July 9, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Uterine_contraction&oldid=729036799