By: Lexie Allman of Lexsentials
Contractions? Braxton hicks? As soon as third trimester rolled around, all of my apps and books said that I could start experiencing these while my body gears up for “pre-labor.” But I feel little pulls, tightening, pains, etc. all the time…how the heck am I supposed to know what they actually are? I remember telling my husband (and the rest of the world) I “think” I’m having Braxton hicks but today they actually feel more like period cramps? And on top of that, to make it even more confusing, they say that you could be having contractions and not even feeling them! In comes Bloomlife pregnancy tracker, a wearable contraction monitor to give you more insight into what’s actually going on.
How Bloomlife does it work?
You choose your start date for the rental (sometime a few weeks into your third trimester – I started at 34 weeks) and wear the sensor as often as you like (I’ve been wearing it a few nights a week, or whenever I have an hour at night to sit still with it on). You can then watch your contractions being reported in real-time (there’s a 15 second delay) on your phone and see the frequency and duration of each one.
I noticed very quickly that I have a lot more contractions at night before bed than during the day so I’ve made night time my time to wear it (8/hour on avg. as opposed to 1/hour). I also found it pretty cool to see that sometimes I could feel the contractions, and actually liked the 15 second delay because I would feel it first and then wait to make sure the device caught it, but that some were also happening without me feeling them. The ones that I did feel weren’t exactly how I would picture a “contraction.” For the most part, they are way less extreme in terms of intensity but confirm that the little things I’m feeling are indeed uterine activity. The device doesn’t differentiate between Braxton hicks and contractions, so they could be Braxton hicks since they are less intense but either way, it taught me to tune into these feelings and recognize that something is happening.
There are so many little feelings during pregnancy that you might not be sure what they are and this product has made me feel a lot more confident and less anxious about identifying what feels more like a “contraction” and what might be something else. For example – one feeling I’ve started to notice is a quick 1-2 second spikey/needle-like feeling super low down that before I would have thought was a quick contraction but the contraction timer doesn’t count those. My birth class teacher said that is more of an indication that the cervix is thinning or of potential dilating. Since initially using the monitor, I can feel my contractions getting a little stronger. Still, they are not that intense but they are gradually picking up.
Is Bloomlife safe?
Before using the product, I checked with my doula and he actually reached out to the company to ensure that they weren’t using ultrasound and the technology was safe. They are measuring uterine activity with electrophysiology (the same technology that a doctor would use to measure your heart rhythm with EKG).
Am I ready for the big day?
I don’t know if anyone is ever actually ready and I have no idea how intense the “real” labor contractions will be but between using this and my hypnobirthing class that I just finished (more on that to come!) I’m feeling pretty good about it all. Everyone keeps asking if I’m nervous and as of right now, I’m still not. I’m actually excited. We’ll see how that changes in my birth story post 🙂 I’m planning to continue to monitor my activity from here on out and to use it when I think it’s go time, looking for the 4-1-1 rule that my hypnobirthing teacher taught us (contractions coming every 4 minutes, lasting 1 full minute, for 1 full hour). This will help prevent me from running to the hospital every time I feel something and being sent home.
Thank you to the Bloomlife team for providing me with this product! If you want to try Bloomlife you can use code LEXIE10 for 10% off your weekly rental.