What are the Causes of Uterine Contractions in Pregnancy?

Contractions in pregnancy not only occur when you are in labor at the end of your term, but may happen anytime throughout the 9 month period. You may notice them more after the beginning of your second trimester. Not all contractions are a cause for concern and not all women experience them before reaching full term. Uterine contractions may be triggered due to a number of reasons.

what causes uterine contractions

Causes of uterine contractions


Your body can get easily dehydrated when you are pregnant and you must ensure to up your water intake, as it can cause contractions. This happens because of high levels of oxytocin in blood, when your body is deficient of water. Doctors recommend drinking lots of water when you experience contractions and see if you feel better. Sometimes this may lead to premature labor, so you really need to drink well.


Moderate physical workout is considered good when you are pregnant, but you may experience contractions after an intense exercise. As you’re nearing full term, it may be a little difficult to exercise and you start feeling dizzy or achy. See if you feel fine after resting. Otherwise you may consult your doctor.

Over exertion

It’s good to be physically active throughout the pregnancy, but over exerting yourself can trigger contractions. Your body is already working wonders internally and it’s not a good idea to work hard in your last month of pregnancy. Avoid lifting heavy objects, as this can add pressure on your uterus, leading to contractions. Make sure you balance work and rest.


Intercourse in your third trimester can cause uterus to contract, when you orgasm. These contractions are harmless, but can be painful. As long as your doctor says it’s fine, you are good to go with sex.

Nipple stimulation

Some pregnant women who breastfeed their child or use a breast pump, may have contractions, when they are close to full term. If it is related to intercourse also, you may feel contractions. Nipple activity is known to release oxytocin and this may trigger contractions.

Pressure points

You may feel like having a massage, to relieve all the muscle cramps and aches, but hitting certain pressure points may lead to contractions, when you’re close to your due date. The hollow part of your ankles, below the ankle bone is connected to uterus and applying pressure here can cause contractions.

Urinary Tract Infection

UTI can trigger uterine contractions. If it is not treated early, it can become severe and may lead to premature labor.

Preterm labor

Some women may go into preterm labor before the completion of 36 week gestation. If contractions do not seem to go away even after resting, drinking, changing positions and your discomfort keeps growing, you may be in premature labor. You need to rush to the doctor immediately, as it can lead to preterm birth. Know about the symptoms of preterm labor here.

Natural labor

Contractions on reaching full term may indicate the onset of labor. This is the time finally. You have to know if it’s real labor this time or not, by monitoring the interval between contractions. If they keep getting closer each time and more intense, then you may be in labor.


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