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You may have a smaller frame and the baby is starting to get crowded in there, so your stomach starts to feel tighter and harder than it did before. Congrats on your pregnancy! :)
At this point, your baby is much bigger than he/she was 3 months ago. Very soon, if not already, it'll be more uncomfortable when he changes positions (think elbows and heels diggin across the inside of your belly, due to lack of room). The Braxton Hicks contractions are 'practice' contractions... you're uterus is 'getting ready' for this marathon on the big day, so it needs to practice.