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Pains in your third trimester of pregnancy (week 28 onwards)

It is common to feel uncomfortable towards the end of your pregnancy. By the third trimester you may feel pains, like contractions, called 'Braxton Hicks'. These do not happen at regular intervals. They tend to be short. They are not labour pains and they are not usually very intense. You might feel discomfort rather than pain.

Contact your midwife, maternity unit or hospital if you have contractions that are:

  • intense and painful
  • less than 10 minutes apart
  • not going away

Related topic

Braxton Hicks contractions

When to get medical help in your third trimester

You should contact your GP, maternity unit or hospital if:

  • you have pain passing urine (when you pee) - this could be a sign of a urine infection
  • you have blood in your urine or smelly or cloudy urine - these could be signs of a urine infection
  • you have severe pain, or if your tummy feels tender when you touch it, or you have any bleeding from your vagina - these could be signs of a problem with your placenta
  • the pain is higher up in your stomach or chest, or you have a headache, swelling of your hands, feet and face or blurring of your vision - these are signs of pre-eclampsia
  • you notice any change in your baby’s movements
  • you are less than 37 weeks pregnant and feel a gush of fluid - this could be a sign that your waters have broken prematurely (preterm rupture of membranes)
  • you are less than 37 weeks pregnant and getting regular contractions that are not going away or are getting stronger - this could be a sign of premature labour

Contact your midwife, maternity unit or hospital if you are more than 37 weeks pregnant and:

  • you think you are in labour
  • your contractions are 5 minutes apart and getting stronger

If you live a long distance from the hospital, you may be asked to come in before this.

Related topics

Contractions and other signs of labour

Heartburn or indigestion during pregnancy

Constipation in pregnancy

Page last reviewed: 20/05/2019
Next review due: 20/05/2022