Hard bellies. Innocent or could it be harmful?

During your pregnancy you may experience hard bellies. But why do you get this? And can it hurt? Hard bellies will occur from the second trimester of pregnancy. The hard bellies can have various causes. Some causes will be innocent, but sometimes the hard stomachs will have a reason. Slow down and listen carefully to your body. Do the hard bellies come several times an hour? Then be on your guard! If you experience 6 or more hard bellies per hour, it is wise to contact your midwife.

Hard bellies

Hard bellies, also called Braxton Hicks, can occur from the second trimester of pregnancy, but in most cases they will occur in the third trimester. Hard bellies are caused by the contraction of the uterus. The contraction of the uterus is caused by the ligaments to which the uterus is attached. When you experience busyness or stress, there is pressure on these ligaments. This causes the uterus to become hard. This can be felt on the outside of the abdomen. This can then feel very hard.
Even if you are not bothered by busyness or stress at all, you can still suffer from hard stomachs. The reason for this is that the uterus is prepared for childbirth. The muscles of the uterus contract regularly to strengthen themselves and prepare for delivery.

Causes of hard bellies

The following things can cause hard bellies:

  • Stress
  • Stoop
  • Orgasm
  • Full bladder
  • Fast movements
  • Great efforts
  • Child moves


What to do if your stomach is hard?

Hard bellies are a sign from the body that you need to take it easy. Take this seriously and listen carefully to your body. Take the necessary rest and, if necessary, lie down when your body needs it. It is also important to continue to support your abdomen well. This can be done with supportive underwear, maternity pants and belly bands. These garments are specially made to provide some extra support for your belly. However, these measures do not mean that you will no longer suffer from hard stomachs. At most they provide support and thus some relief.

When can hard bellies cause harm?

Hard bellies can be harmful if they occur more than 6 times per hour and you are not yet ready to give birth. If this is the case, lie down with a hot water bottle against your stomach. It is best to lie on your left side, because blood circulation is optimal in that position. Another thing that can help is to drink a lot of water. If these things do not help, you should consult your midwife.
You should also inform the midwife if the hard bellies are painful . Often these are not hard bellies, but contractions. These feel the same because the uterus also contracts, but unlike hard bellies, contractions are painful. These contractions can occur because the baby is descending, or because the body is ‘practicing’ for the impending birth.
If the contractions occur less than 15 minutes apart, you should always contact the midwife. Even if this is after the 37th week of your pregnancy . Make a note of when the contractions started and what the frequency of the contractions is. And were you doing a certain activity when the contractions started? For example, something that required you to exert your body? These are all matters that are important to the midwife.
If you have any doubts about the seriousness of your hard bellies, please contact your doctor or midwife at all times.

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