This is how it went with my first pregnancy...
Midwife: I'm just going to feel your tum, hop up on the table for me (of course the heavily pregnant can't "hop up" anywhere).
Midwife: (kneading large, exposed bump) it's difficult to tell what position he is in; you're having Braxton Hicks.
Me: Really? I can' feel anything.
Consequently, this meant that any following conversation I had with other Mums about Braxton Hicks would result in me thinking I was 'dead 'ard', as they droned on about how uncomfortable and painful they were I thought smugly: "Well I didn't even know I was having them."
Two pregnancies later...
Midwife: Any questions, concerns?
Me: Do Braxton Hicks hurt more in consecutive pregnancies?
Midwife (tilting head and smiling) yes, unfortunately, they do.
ME: And come more often?
Me: And more irregular?
Me: And less likely to be a signal of labour approaching?
Midwife: Afraid so.
Me: So their sole purpose this time round is to make the last month as uncomfortable as possible? Great.
Apparently the theory is in your first labour, the head will engage and stay engaged, and this will result in practice contractions preparing your uterus for the birth, first discovered my a male doctor (of course) who then named them after himself, hence why the name has nothing to do with labour or women. In consecutive pregnancies the head is less likely to engage till labour commences, however, the baby may (quoting the midwife) "bob in and out" thus creating irregular and painful practice contractions.
*Talking to Belly* Well, you in there, little bobber, you hear me? This bobbing - stops now! No more! Anywhere else you would be called a "Tease". I can just about handle the pains, but every time you bob in I have the urge to pee, which happens every 7 minutes coupled with a very convincing and pressured feeling that something very large is about to drop out of something quite small.. So we would all be happier if you just bobbed out, stayed out and splashed about till you were definitely going to make an appearance. To put in bluntly - the only pains I am interested in are the ones that will result in an empty womb!