The Irritable Uterus

I’ve been up with contractions most of the night, many of which are painful and just minutes apart and some less painful that seem to last ten minutes at a time. This morning they are quite annoying as some feel like bad charlie horses up my sides. Why so many and why am I not rushing to labor and delivery?? Well, I have gas, why not? Oh, and add in that I’m constantly on the edge of being dehydrated. Combine those two things and my uterus will contract nonstop until the gas passes, no pun.

I didn’t know anything about having an irritable uterus until I went to labor and delivery at 21 weeks with contractions 5 minutes or less apart for a few hours. Oddly enough, they stopped on our way to the hospital. It was positional. Being reclined in my chair was causing them. When I got up to move they slowed and eventually stopped their regularity. Several ultrasounds and checks have shown that my cervix is not changing.

So I sit here with my notepad and count them just to see how close they are together this morning as I have breakfast. Some are 3 minutes apart, some are 8. Some I don’t feel except I know my uterus is hard as a rock for a minute, some make me feel like I’m going to pee myself but I can’t move to actually pee, others make me feel like my sides are being torn by charlie horses. The ones that frighten me a bit are the ones that come with back pain, but I haven’t had many of them since I sat down after making my oats. I had back labor with my daughter and having a contraction with back pain/ache sets a mental alert off that I have to monitor these things closer.

An irritable uterus is just that, irritated. It will contract for any reason at all.

Here is my list of what causes mine to become angered:

Nothing: Yup, nothing at all. Some days it’s just in a bad mood.

Reclining: This was the first thing we realized caused contractions. Seems counter intuitive because your supposed to relax and lay down if you start getting contractions. However, I find that when I recline for a length of time during the day I will begin to contract regularly. When I get up and move around they stop altogether or at least become spread apart since I can’t say they ever actually cease to exist for more than an hour.

Walking: When I go out for a walk in the woods I try to get in a few miles, meaning 3-4 if possible. However, I only had three days during this entire pregnancy that I felt well enough to go further than 3 miles. That was during my 26th week when I was still gaggy but not as gaggy, and before I seemed to relapse with the sickness and fatigue. It took me six weeks to slowly get to the point where I could walk more than a few hundred feet before stopping. Prior to 20 weeks I rarely moved from my chair due to sickness. At 20 weeks I had to stop every 20 feet to bend over, catch my breath and get relief from the pain I felt from round ligaments and the overall lack of muscle tone. Back to walking. Some days I will begin contracting when I head out for a walk and they will dissipate after a bit then return after I’ve hit a mile or so. Other times I will be fine until a mile and a half out then they start. I never know which makes it interesting!

My darling unborn child: Yes, he is the cause of a lot of them. He is an active baby that does not stop moving from 8 am until I go to bed at night around ten. Some days he will stop for 20 minutes or so to rest, but for the most part he is super active…and might I say strong. Sometimes when he is doing flips and using my cervix as a push point I’ll get real strong contractions. Other times he is just busy and my uterus gets irritated.  I tell him that he’s getting hugs. : )

Someone rubbing my belly: This is an odd one because it’s never me that triggers them and I have my hands on my belly all day (and sometimes during the night if he wakes up). It’s usually if someone else is rubbing and it may have to do with the pressure they exert and the regular back and forth motion with their hand with that pressure.

Stress/pressure to function: Having been so sick since October (it is now the end of April), I find myself dealing with tremendous anxiety. All it takes is a slight gaggy feeling, or having food in my stomach, or slight sick feeling to set me off in a panic. Having this happen when I’m alone is one thing but when I’m with others I feel I must hide it well and I’m always afraid of being that sick in front of people…and that pressure will set me into contractions sometimes. It’s not as often as physical causes, but it does occur.

Dehydration: This is a big one and will cause anyone to have braxton hicks contractions. Unfortunately, being as sick as I am I live dehydrated according to what I “should” be consuming in fluids every day. I’m not as dehydrated now as I was ten weeks ago, nowhere near as bad actually…but I still only manage 16-32 oz of fluids a day.

Having Gas: The colon goes right up against the uterus and the uterus puts pressure on the colon and vice versa when the colon is transporting goods. I usually only get contractions from painful gas bubbles that get stuck and won’t move. This is what happens at night for me. I end up turning back and forth and massaging the whole colon in an attempt to move the air…and eventually it comes out and the contractions stop.

Having to poop: Yup, the colon transporting goods again. Pretty much the same as having gas.

Having to pee: This is a big trigger. Any time I have to pee more than 2 ounces my bladder and uterus fight…the uterus contracts super hard and I feel the urge to pee my pants…and frankly I have done so when my husband made me laugh during one or two of these contractions. But normally I just wait the contraction out and go to the bathroom successfully.

Peeing: The very act of peeing makes me contract now too. This is relatively new around 28-29 weeks. I get done peeing and bam..contraction. You just can’t make an irritated uterus happy can you?

And the last (most embarrassing) one I have for now: The sleep orgasm: I have to throw this in there because I’m just open like that and want you to know that if you experience these and wake up in agony with contractions you are not alone! Sleep orgasms are a pregnancy thing for us women and we don’t like to bring them up, but they happen! I was on strict bedrest with my daughter, in preterm labor on and off for months and I still had these, and they were super intense. My body didn’t want to listen to the doctors pelvic rest order. I did inquire about them and since there is nothing they can do to stop them from happening we just have to ride them out. In my case they never sent me into labor, but it’s always good to track your contractions after waking to one of these if your already on pelvic rest. As good as they might sound, they aren’t fun to wake up to with a cranky uterus.


There you have it, the things that irritate my uterus. An irritable uterus can be just a twitching or full blown contractions. If you haven’t been diagnosed with an irritable uterus and your having contractions a lot…go to your doctor or labor and delivery! Preterm labor is not fun…trust me, been there, done that!







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