if you mow the lawn, go slow and drink lots of fluids.
from a medical standpoint, there is a difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and an irritable uterus, and yet another difference between thos two and preterm labor.
BH contractions, as we know, are irregular mild tightening contractions that actually start as soon as you're pregnant. most women don't perceive them until the middle or early third trimester...and, most women will feel/recognize then earlier in each successive pregnancy because a) we recognize them and can differentiate them from fetal movement, b) we are often busy caring for other children and may not be hydrating as much (Liz I drank troughs of water and still got BH too) and c) the uterus does become more irritable according to the more pregnancies you have, the amount of time between pregnancies, etc. but the contractions are still considered BH unless and until they become regular, painful, and efface/dilate the cervix.
Irritable uterus is a blanket statement for a uterus that show erratic, short contractions...they may be every 2-3 minutes, but last only a few seconds, then the next one may last 2-3 minutes. the contractions really are all over the place, and difficult to monitor. in most cases, these also don't cause cervical change either, but rarely can lead to preterm labor.
of course, a diagnosis of PTL is made if cervical effacement and dilation result from contractions...and as cat can tell you, medicine and bedrest can stop PTL.
Liz, it's normal.
. Annoying, but completely normal.