Braxton Hicks contractions occur for all pregnant mums, but not every woman can actually feel them. They start somewhere around the six week mark, but if you do notice them it probably won’t happen until at least halfway through pregnancy.
The difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and labour contractions is that the Braxton Hicks ones are irregular and are painless. They are sporadic, short, and happen often. Braxton Hicks contractions can be confusing for pregnant women because it can be tricky to distinguish them from the real thing.
Basically, if you are having more than four contractions in an hour, it is time to give your doctor a call and get there advice about whether or not you should be seen. If there are any other signs of preterm labour, such as your water breaking or contractions that are painful and happen regularly in succession, then get seen immediately just to be safe.
Another way to differentiate Braxton Hicks from real contractions is to try a change of position. Often with Braxton Hicks, changing up your position will cause the contractions to ease up and go away. If you are really in labour, no amount of shifting around will make the contractions go away.