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HELP please: Any MWs/experienced mums able to assist? Irritable uterus/early labour questions

(33 Posts)
TimeyWimeyStuff Fri 30-Nov-12 17:54:01

I was admitted to the AN ward overnight earlier this week because I was having regular (2-3 mins apart) mildly painful contractions at 28 weeks. They lessened in regularity by the time I was in hospital, cervix shut, and fibronectin (sp?) test negative. Doc suggested irritable uterus.

Had a run of 2-3min apart tightenings, some with shooting pains down my vagina, others more like the pain/discomfort of really needing to poo this afternoon. Now having some fairly powerful, but not drastically sore, tightenings at 4-5 min intervals. Felt the need to stand and sway through some.

Is it worth me phoning the hospital again? fN test indicates no prem labour in the next week, so I'm wondering whether I should wait it out here or risk being pulled in for another sleepless, uncomfortable night in hospital. I'd prob have to go myself as DD is sick so DH will have to stay with her. Hospital is 40 mins away. We have no one close nearby. wWYD?

Jollyb Fri 30-Nov-12 18:07:10

I really think you need to phone your labour/antenatal ward to ask their advice. I doubt anyone is going to be able to answer this sort of question on here.

Best of luck

TimeyWimeyStuff Fri 30-Nov-12 19:57:24

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Well thankfully they've stopped again now, so no immediate action needed.

but it's hard to believe there's no one on MN who won't come along with similar experiences and their outcomes to share in the name of support. Would be nice to have people other than medical staff and DH to talk to when I'm feeling crap about it all. sad

Jollyb Fri 30-Nov-12 21:10:27

Sorry timey I didn't mean to sound unsupportive. I'm sure there are lots of women on here who have been through similar.

However pregnancy is one of those times when if you are thinking about whether you need to call your midwife/antenatal ward then you probably should. Even if it is just for peace of mind. I hope everything stays settled for you and you have a peaceful night.

TimeyWimeyStuff Fri 30-Nov-12 21:11:57

Thanks jolly and sorry if my tone came across wrong. I am grateful you responded! smile

cheesesavory Fri 30-Nov-12 21:19:17

Hope you're feeling ok now?

HoneyMum21 Fri 30-Nov-12 21:29:30

i had similar bt a positive fibronectin - although the 6 different doctors i saw all had different interpretations of what the result actually means, from what i gather a negative doesnt necessarily mean a definite no to labour. any uncertainty andi'd say get checked out. i had contractions (which i thought were BH) on and off for a week then gave birth fairly quicklyonce it started properly.

good luck

TimeyWimeyStuff Fri 30-Nov-12 21:40:45

I'm ok cheese (and yes, it is me, giving you a break from my whining tonight) all eased away now. The variation isn't helping my mood swings. grin

Thanks Honey, sorry you dealt with this too. It's the uncertainty that gets to me. As you say, no two HCPs with matching advice. Anyway, tomorrow is another day and the past hour my belly has been the softest I've experienced since Wednesday morning. Long may it last.

cheesesavory Fri 30-Nov-12 21:45:03

Figured it was you, don't worry sbout moaning you are not! Take it easy please and you know where I am if you need a chat xxx

TimeyWimeyStuff Sat 01-Dec-12 08:17:14

Thanks lovely.

All quiet here this morning, but would still love to hear experiences , particularly with regard to how the rest of other people's pregnancies went following a negative fFN. Might have to go googling.

FestiveDigestive Sat 01-Dec-12 11:23:52

Hi Timey - I can't really give any advice but can tell you that I am in a similar situation if that helps.

I am 32 weeks with twins and have had an irratable uterus since 28 weeks, as well as lots of pressure as one twin is engaged. I've been over to the hospital 3 times (once in the middle of the night!) as the braxton hicks have got stronger or more regular. The FFN has been negative every time and my cervix has been closed. The monitor picks up the odd contraction but mainly just lots of little ones that are close together.

I've decided now that I won't go back unless they become painful & clearly regular. With my DS, I started off at exactly 10 mins apart and then moved to 9, then to 8 etc. The pain steadily increased with the timings moving closer together.

Last night I was having really strong ones that were 3 or 4 minutes apart. I was panicking a tiny bit but deep down I know it couldn't be labour because in real labour, 3 to 4 minute contractions would really HURT.

It is worrying though, I started to feel like I was going mad a few weeks ago and maybe I was imaging it all!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 01-Dec-12 11:28:26

We don't use the fibronectin test where I work so no experience of it (am a m/w).

But if you do get the pains again you really need to ring your hospital up and get advice from them.

I take it they've ruled out a UTI?

Shellywelly1973 Sat 01-Dec-12 17:16:31

I had a similar experience to you with my 3rd pregnancy. Ended up being admitted to hospital for 48 hrs at 28 weeks&contracting every 3/4 mins for hours...baby was fully engaged.

It settled down but i had regular tightenings for the rest of the pregnancy. Eventually dd was born at 38 weeks with no problems.

TimeyWimeyStuff Sat 01-Dec-12 20:36:04

Thanks Shelly and Festive, good to know I'm not alone. Festive you describe the way it messes with your head perfectly! I gues I have to settle in, accept these tightenings and pains as normal for me, and alert MWs if they get stronger or more painful.

Thanks Viva, I had to do a urine sample to be to be sent off for cultures before I was discharged. DD was born at 36+1 and it turned out I'd tested positive for an infection over a week beforehand but nobody had told me (was very bad for UTIs and thrush In my first pregnancy). Knowing about irritable uteri makes that early birth make more sense to me now.

Due Feb 15th. My bets are on January. grin

willitbe Sat 01-Dec-12 23:01:51

I had irritable uterus on my first and third pregnancies. With both admitted to hospital at 33 weeks doc's thinking I was about to give birth, contractions clearly measured on the ctg machines, both times given steroids to mature the babies lungs and both pregnancies I became best friends with my tens machine to get me through the contractions for the rest of the pregnancy.

First pregnancy went to 38 weeks, third pregnancy went to 39 weeks. It was only in my second pregnancy that I learnt what braxton hicks contractions felt like (nothing like the irritable uterus contractions!)

I found that moving (walking) and not drinking enough water were surefire causes to trigger the contractions.

Walking around a supermarket became impossible without the tens machine and stopping to breath through the contractions.

Labours were no different for having had all the contractions, which was disappointing. I was however very well practiced at the good breathing techniques for early labour! The only reason I knew I was finally in labour was having a show 24 hours beforehand. The contractions felt the same until time of epidural for my first, only difference was I got contractions one on top of the other and that panicked me!. With my third labour, I did not recognise the contractions as contractions, as they were different from normal, and gave birth within the next hour. So I don't know how to tell someone how to tell the difference between irritable uterus contractions and "real" contractions.

I don't envy anyone having irritable uterus, it is hard to live with.

FestiveDigestive Sun 02-Dec-12 09:07:27

willitbe - that sounds awful, it must have been really bad if you had to wear a tens machine! It's interesting that you say about the supermarket, I've pretty much stopped walking anywhere because of the pressure & the fact that walking causes constant contractions. The supermarket is definitely the worst place for me - I think it's the combination of trolley & walking together. If I've been on my feet then it kind of 'triggers' something and I will spend the whole night having them really close together.

I thought I knew what Braxton Hicks were from my other pregnancies but they were totally different from these too, just a mild tightening. These ones can get so strong that they actually take my breath away & I get a boiling hot flush with each one so my face turns beetroot red! My whole bump kind of pushes up (it's massive with two in there!) and is like a solid rock. I get a bit frustrated with DH because I'll be lying on the sofa breathing through them/panicking about going into labour & he'll be saying "It's okay, just another false alarm" in a really blasé way. I end up saying to him: "These are REAL you know" as I don't think he understands how uncomfortable if actually is angry

I'm a bit scared that you didn't know the difference when you went into labour - the hospital keep telling me to go over if anything is "any different" because I might need to be moved to a different hospital with two spare neo-natal cots. I've had the steroid shots just in case. When you were having contractions before you went into labour, were they regular time-wise? Could you sleep through them ar night? Was there a sudden change when you realised - did if hurt a lot more? (Sorry for bombarding you with questions, I'm just scared of missing something because one of the hospitals with spare cots is a 3 hour away shock )

TimeyWimeyStuff Sun 02-Dec-12 09:17:57

You know, I'm actually not sure I do know what BH feel like. What I thought were BH were always his strong. I had loads in the run up to DD's birth, but dismissed them as BH because of the irregularity BUT even when I knew I was in labour (after monitoring, VEs etc) they never did become regular. Even very near the end I was left wondering whether the next one would be in 10 mins or two.

I had been in hospital about 12 hours before they really ramped up, and DD was born about six hours after that, so I would hope I would know when the time comes.

My poor DH is the opposite to yours, Festive, he keeps panicking at the slightest thing. He's going off to work today feeling very uncertain, but I'm fine as long as I take it easy. Home alone with our toddler, so we'll see how that goes wink

I really hope with all the extra support you'll need with the twins that it's "clear" for you when the time comes.

TimeyWimeyStuff Sun 02-Dec-12 09:19:40

Sorry willit I was kind of responding to what you said but didn't acknowledge you. How rude of me. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think you're brave doing it again after one experience with IU. I'm never getting pregnant after this!

TimeyWimeyStuff Sun 02-Dec-12 14:51:03

FFS, I thought I had identified and avoided all triggers today, yet my belly is solid for long periods and making me feel sick with it. Thankfully pain levels not too high but I'm pretty down on the thought of feeling like this for another 10 weeks. sad

willitbe Sun 02-Dec-12 18:45:27

In answer to the question, yes the contractions were regular when they started. The closest they got was generally 2 or 3 mins apart, most of the time they were only 5 mins apart.

I found the tens machine really helped me, I was told I could use it by the hospital the first time it happened. With my second experience of it I was told I should not use it, I ignored them! They told me I could "use it at my own risk" as in some people it can cause contractions apparently!!!

I did find that most of the time that when the contractions were triggered from walking that just resting and drinking plenty of water helped them to go away after about half an hour. I only went to the hospital a few times with each of them.

I vividly remember with my first pregnancy getting to 38 weeks and telling my husband that we were going for a walk to make the baby arrive. I walked around the park with him, I was stopping for the contraction every couple of minutes, I kept going for as long as I could manage before getting exhausted. It failed and the baby stayed put for another 5 days!

Timeywimeystuff - so sorry you are suffering through this, do try to keep as hydrated as you can. Rest, rest and rest some more. Have you tried the tens machine? I do remember how it was to feel the way you do, it is tough. The first time it happened I thought I was just being pathetic, and did not realise how unusual it was. But I allowed myself to go through two more pregnancies and would choose to do so again if it meant another baby, so wasn't too bad once it was all over!

FestiveDigestive - if you are in doubt you should head towards the hospital You can't take the risk. If they are painful and close together then go to get checked. I made a few trips to the hospital on false alarms, but the hospital were always very good, and never made me feel bad for going. It was just inconvinent with dealing with the trips to and from the hospital. I was pleased that I had had the steroids for the baby's lungs and happy once I got past 36 weeks that if the baby decided to come early that all should be ok.

As for the negative fibronectin test, I was travelling between Ireland and England after one episode in hospital. I was told that I would only be released from the hospital to travel home, if I could promise I would be home within 24 hours of the test. They said that they could only say that labour would not happen within 24 hours of the test, and that it was unlikely to happen within a week, but it could happen in that week. We got home despite the car blowing the head gasket on the M5!!!! 34 weeks pregnant, contracting every 4 mins, being in agony with the tens machine at full pelt, standing on the side of the M5 waiting to be picked up, was an interesting memory of that pregnancy!!!!

I am truely sorry that you are both going through this, I hope that you get some relief from the pain. (and sorry my posts are so long!!!!!)

willitbe Sun 02-Dec-12 19:07:35

FestiveDigestive, sorry I just re-read your post and noticed the other questions:
When you were having contractions before you went into labour, were they regular time-wise? - yes they were regular

Could you sleep through them ar night? - no I could not sleep through them, but often they calmed at night when I relaxed, when they did not calm I went to hospital to be checked.

Was there a sudden change when you realised - did if hurt a lot more? - I can say that they did not suddenly change, with my first pregnancy, I lost my mucus plug and that alerted me to things being different. They did get much closer together a second contration coming before the previous one had really finished, But this was a long long back to back labour, so I had plenty of time.

With my second pregnancy I did not have irritable uterus during the pregnancy, but I did have a very long latent labour for 5 days before the birth and was not allowed out of the hospital (due to living an hour away) I was told in the afternoon that the contractions were doing nothing, cervix still closed etc, but that evening the contractions suddenly got much more painful, not closer together and I knew it was happening.

With my third pregnancy, my mucus plug went the day before. I was typing on MN in the morning and suddenly got a stitch or trapped nerve..... It got me out of the seat and moving to relieve it. It happened again, so I had to get up again, and told the baby to get off that nerve. The third time it happened I casually decided to use the contraction timer on the computer, whilst continuing to type on MN. After three more, I looked at the timer to discover they were 4 mins apart lasting a minute each. It was the moment at which I suddenly realised I was in labour!!! Two more contractions and the waters went. it was only after that, that it felt like proper contractions at all and I was in transition already. The baby arrived less than half an hour later at home (too late to transfer to hospital). I was fooled by the contractions feeling different at the start.

To be honest I don't know how I would deal with things again if I had another pregnancy/labour. I would probrably be admitted early to the hospital as I would be "too old" for a homebirth now. I am sorry I am not much more help for you, I really think that you have to go by your own instincts and go to hospital if you are in any doubt. Congratulations on the twins btw

nananaps Sun 02-Dec-12 20:08:10

ooh glad i found this as this is what i am experiencing alot of.

I know what Braxton hicks feel like, i know what contractions feel like and these are in between.

They stop me in my tracks, i stop, sway and breath till they pass.
They are very uncomfortable, but no one has mentioned "irritable uterus".

The HVS test was negative, cervix closed, but you could clearly see rises on the ctg monitor every minute or two for about 6 hours.

I get them if i stand up too quickly, need a wee, sitting quietly, anything sets it off really.

Im 31 weeks and have another 6 weeks to work yet! They are making me worried and miserable!

TimeyWimeyStuff Sun 02-Dec-12 20:19:57

willitbe thanks so much for all the info. Don't apologise for long posts, they are very helpful! I haven't been using pain relief because while the IU tightenings are sore they are more annoying than anything else to me (but I do have a long standing condition that causes chronic pain, so I tend not to be bothered until it's really bad. I spent a lot of my first labour refusing pain relief not on principle but because I didn't feel the need when the MWs thought I should).

nana it does sound familiar and I doubt I would have acted on it had they not become so regular on Weds evening. But they've stayed pretty obvious ever since. Rest is the only thing to stop it AFAIK, and even then they sometimes wake me up. Think I'll be stopping work now. Not taking any risks! Stick around, we're only a couple of weeks apart.

festive hope the twins are behaving tonight. smile

nananaps Mon 03-Dec-12 09:23:34

Thats what is weird. they come when i am relaxing sitting on the sofa or in bed dropping off to sleep, its not just activity that sets them off.

Mine w ere strong enogh and regular enough to pack me off to delivery suite. Nothing normally bothers me, but i admit to being very worried.

Not long now, not long now, not long now smile

Doraemon Mon 03-Dec-12 12:43:25

Can I join this thread please??? Am on 3rd pregnancy and have had what I thought were painful Braxton Hicks with all 3 but now think I probably have irritable uterus.
DS1 was born at 32 weeks after my waters broke unexpectedly, but I do remember before that having what I assumed were Braxton Hicks but painful enough that I had to breath and rock through them. With DS2 I had to stop pushing the buggy because it would set me off, I was admitted at 29weeks with contractions but not dilating, given medication to stop them and steroids for the baby, admitted again around 31 weeks then eventually gave birth at 34 weeks.
This time I'm 26 weeks and getting really strong tightenings if I do too much (push buggy up hill, walk around Co-op etc), and have to stop what I'm doing and breath. They wake me up at night sometimes too but they're not regular (sometimes a few will come together a few minutes apart, other times it really just depends what I'm doing).
I can clearly remember that when DS2 was born I recognised the 'real' contractions because the pain seemed to move around from my bump to my lower back and down my legs, more like period pain. The tightenings I'm getting at the moment are definitely painful but not in the same way.
I'm also getting SPD but thankfully only have 10 days of work left and then I figure I just have to try to do as little as possible, rest as much as I can etc. so in a way I'm kind of using the contractions as a warning/excuse to sit down more. I had a fibronectin test a few weeks ago as part of the Opptimum research trial and that was negative, so fingers crossed baby will stay in to a decent gestation (although if I end up stuck on the sofa right through to 42 weeks I may just go insane!)

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