Shooting pains, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, start occurring after the first trimester of pregnancy. The shooting pain is caused by intermittent uterine contractions and it is painless for some expecting women. Initially, the bouts of pain may not be felt, but soon they start occurring every 10 to 20 minutes. Braxton Hicks contractions or shooting pain are also called pre-labour contractions.
Causes of Shooting Pains during Pregnancy
- According to the American Pregnancy Association, an expectant woman may experience shooting pains in the fourth month of pregnancy if she takes part in even moderate physical activity.
- The bouts of pain may also start occurring if the foetus makes frequent movements.
- Having sex in the second trimester of pregnancy or dehydration may be other potential causes of Braxton Hicks contractions.
- As a woman gets closer to the last month of pregnancy, the shooting pain may worsen and become severe around the delivery time. At times, these contractions are mistaken for false labour alarm.
Risk of Preterm Labour
If you haven’t completed 37 weeks of gestation, but are having more than four contractions in an hour, there is a strong chance that you may have to be admitted for preterm labour. Here are the signs and symptoms of pre-term labour knowing which may help you to immediately assess your situation and call for medical help.
- Vaginal bleeding (spotting or cramping)
- Watery, mucus-rich or bloody Vaginal discharge
- Nausea or never-diminishing morning sickness
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Pelvis pressure or pressure in the vagina
- Four to six contractions in an hour or more
- Persistent pain or tightness in the lower abdomen or back.
Tips for Relieving Contractions
- To relieve shooting pains or Braxton Hicks contractions in the fourth month of pregnancy, you need to make alterations in your postures and activity level.
- A woman in her second and last trimester should abstain from making sharp movements, jumping or turning.
- Shooting pains can be relieved by applying a heating pad to your abdomen or back.
- A warm water bath may also provide some relief or you may simply massage them.
- You must drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
If your last trimester of pregnancy hasn’t started yet, you experience all signs of preterm labour and with each passing day the pain worsens in spite of resorting to aforementioned relieving methods, call your health care provider immediately to prevent preterm delivery.
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