What exactly do contractions feel like?

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Sheree - posted on 02/10/2010

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I just want to say, remember everyone is different. Yes they feel like period pain, and yes braxton hicks are very similar. A lot of people say you will know the difference- NOT TRUE. I didnt know i was in labour because everyone kept saying to me, when it happens it'll be so painful and you'll know the difference between the braxton hicks and the real thing. Well i really didnt think it was that painful, i even told my hubby not to worry about coming home from work. He eventually came home when my mum convinced me to go to the hospital. I was in labour and only at the hospital for 90mins before my little girl was born. Best of luck with your upcoming arrival :)

Amy - posted on 02/12/2010

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If you can remember the worst menstrual cramps you have ever had just times that by at least 50. It is one of those things that if you prepare you will be ready for and can handle it with certain breathing exercises, etc. Do tons of research before you go into labor and come up with a birth plan. Make sure you know what you want to experience during labor is put in writing and given to your doctor otherwise standard procedure is implemented and you cannot make great decisions when in hard labor. Make sure to have a great birth coach (husband, friend, or doula) with you during labor to help you through. Keep in mind, if you have a high tolerance for pain then you will do fine without anything. If your tolerance is relatively low then research all of the available pain drugs and their risks so that you are prepared. You may be surprised what your body can handle. Good Luck and Congratulations!
Note: A lot of walking in your last 2 months can help shorten labor and practicing kegel exercise helps for during and after.

Tiffany - posted on 02/12/2010

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contractions feel like a gas pain but 20x more painful you will get a lot of pressure in your lower back and you will not be able to get comfortable thats when you know

Maria - posted on 02/14/2010

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Like the worst cramps you've ever had, times ten -- or a hundred. I can't remember clearly anymore!

Theresa - posted on 02/12/2010

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Menstral cramps, times 10, then times 50, and at the end times 100! But at least you get something to show for it. When they put that tiny baby in your arms it's worth every times 100 cramp you had. :)

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[deleted account]

Well it depends on who you ask and you'll get all kinds of different answers. The main thing to remember is everyone is different. I can honestly say for me I kept in mind what I was going to end up with and that helped. It was the worst pain andit hurts very bad but I did it again so it must be worth it! Take a whole bunch of extremly bad pains.... gas..cramps..backache.. leg aches your rearend hurts from pushing and then multiply your worst pain by about 100 x and you might be there. I don't know about anyone else but the second one was easier and came a lot quicker! My husband amost missed her being born! Ask about the episiotomy. (not sure how it's spelled) but you definitly don't want to tear I've heard horror stories about tearing you definitly want cut I swear you don't even feel it!! (When they cut you) You'll come to love a sitz bath afterward as well.Good luck!!!! Enjoy the ride some only do it once or twice and it may feel like you're pregnant forever but its over too soon. I would give anything to be pregnant again!! I loved it!! Both times!!! Oh and definitly get the epidural if you can it's Heavenly!!! You should breeze through a lot of the contrations!! And don't worry if you get black and blue down there....from all that pushing they say it's normal oh and you'll prob get hemmroids from pushing real hard but it's nothing compared to labor! Good luck!!!

Angela - posted on 02/15/2010

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My pain was all in my lower back and butt hole LOL...it was bad, I wanted to die! It's actually becoming a blur now, it's almost nine months later and I can't even remember alot of that pain anymore...I love the epidural!!!

Heidi - posted on 02/15/2010

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Mine actually started up high on one side, to me it felt like my lil guy was kicking me. I found out it was contractions when I went in to have him and they hooked me up to the monitor and asked if I've been having any contractions and I said not that I know of and the nurse said well you're having one right now. lol Then it gradually moved down and more to the middle of my tummy, kind of in an L shape. Once they REALLY get going it does feel like a really bad period cramp. Don't be afraid to get the epidural. I wish I would have gotten it sooner, the main reason I waited so long was my Dr said that it slows things down, but I think she was wrong, once I finally got the epidural my lil guy was born about 2 1/2 hours later, I had gone about 8 hours before that with just the meds they can put in your IV.

Erica - posted on 02/15/2010

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What they all said and your stomach gets tight...it feels hard when you touch it.

Ceri - posted on 02/14/2010

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My contractions came on very quickly. All of my pain was in my lower back, so at the time I didn't associate the pain with labour. After 2 hrs I went to the hospital to have a check up and was told my baby was well on his way. 45 minutes later my baby was born!

Angel - posted on 02/13/2010

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I wish i could have pushed. :( i had to have csections (emergancy) with both of my daughters

Christy - posted on 02/13/2010

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I wondered the same thing but you will definitely know when they are labor pains.
They feel like menstrual cramps and will get stronger as you progress they were very uncomfortable but nothing you can't handle it really helps to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. But the epidural is your best friend I didn't feel a thing pushing or anything.

Angel - posted on 02/13/2010

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really HARD period cramps. you stomach will tighten up really hard almost like a basketball that hasnt lost any air at all.

Sandra - posted on 02/13/2010

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hiya....first of all relax...its not going to be as bad as you think.... i was induced and it started off as a mild period cramp and eventually it got stronger and more requent (i tring to exactly think) and like very bad wind at the same time....but dont worry as soon as u get the epideral..the pain is gone!!!!!!.and if they dont give it straight away ask for the gas its brilliant ..u still feel the pain but dont give a shite lol... good luck;)

Karen - posted on 02/12/2010

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it is different for everyone, but there is two things we as women can all agree on...it starts out feeling like menstral cramp dull than more intense, and later/some females sooner it really hurts. There are the back contractions, which I was lucky not to experience a lot of and the frontal experience. The frontal contractions feels like someone who has a big hand (now make it into a fist) and now if that isnt bad enought that fist is going to be turning in circles. Please dont put all your focus on the contractions that your going to have, just think try to think positive things.
In my case it hurts a lot when I experienced it but now thinking back it really wasnt that bad. Just ask all the mom's who now have more than one child.

Megan - posted on 02/12/2010

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It's different for every woman. Most people here, like me, had really bad menstral like cramps that were just almost to much to bear. However my sister's contractions feel like a wave. It starts up high and it feels like your entire stomach is dropping almost, it's pushing down, and everything gets really tight. If you're worried call your dr! That's what they're there for. Trust me, they won't make you feel stupid for calling, better be safe than sorry!

Jessica - posted on 02/12/2010

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like a strong stomach cramp that starts small, peaks, and goes away. But it will keep coming back and get more and more painful. Sorry to say but I compare it to stomach pains when one has an upset tummy - like diarrhea - only worse! You might not know right away you are in labor, but as time goes on and they keep coming - you will figure it out!

[deleted account]

Well my contractions started right at my lower back right at the spine came around each side and ended in the middle.

[deleted account]

there a little painful its like a bad period cramp all over but i didnt think it was that bad ive been threw worst pain, like i always wondered why some female would scream an when i went threw i really had no ideas why some scream like that

Susan - posted on 02/12/2010

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bloody hurts. especially when the baby is just about to come out.... you will know....

Michelle - posted on 02/11/2010

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For me it felt like really bad cramps b ut twenty times worse. And if you have really bad gas and have to go diearia that is how bad it is or was for me. But, in time it did get stronger and a lot harder. Epideral, Epideral.

Laura - posted on 02/11/2010

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It's different for every woman. For yourself if you have had period pains it is likely that's where you will feel your contractions. I have been through labour 4 times and each time was different. My first baby I felt the contractions in my lower back and across my stomach (mostly my stomach), with the next 3 babies the contractions were mostly my lower back and hips. The pain is like period pain only much more intense, increases in intensity and comes in waves that peak and then tail off, then gets longer and stronger next time. Honestly I felt like my body was being ripped apart sometimes. I have very quick labours though, I have been told and suspect it may be true that that makes it more intense. I go from 3cm to pushing out the baby in less than 2 hours, which makes for alot of hard work in a very short time.

Danielle - posted on 02/11/2010

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you'll feel your stomach muscles and lower abdoman uscles tighten like a ball...(you tummy should feel pretty hard when this happens...and then they will release

Dawn - posted on 02/11/2010

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They are different for every person, and every baby. I have had four, and they were different every time. My mom vomited every five minutes with my older sister, but had no pain. My first was very gentle... felt like I was doing crunches (she took two days to come). My boys were both like getting stuck in the middle of my 50th situp... but felt in my hips and back too... (they came in about 3 hours, start to finish). Best guideline, if you are uncertain... you have time. My midwife told me this: If they are the same whether walking, sitting, or laying down, if no change in activity slows them down, they are regular and less than 10 mins apart you are getting ready. She also said if you feel like you may be going into labor, try to sleep. Sounds silly, but if you are really going into labor, you will need the sleep and you will wake up in time to have the baby! :)

Meagan - posted on 02/11/2010

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When I went in to be induced the nurse told me I was having contractions 15 minutes apart and I had no idea. They where not intense until after my water broke! But like the other replies have stated, Oh you will know! Especially when they get close!

Krystal - posted on 02/11/2010

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my contractions were very mild at first just like period pains but once they poped my waters it HURT alot, i felt alot of pressure and pain in my bum to, which is normal. and i had some back pain to. when you have a contraction your whole stomach tightens (contracts) and then releases when the contraction goes. i only used gas and air for the last hour of my labour ( was in labour for 2 and half days) and i could still feel my contractions it just helped take the edge of it, i used mostly breathing and it helped me concentrate on what i was doin. i had a really good first time experience and my labour and birth wasnt actually that bad and i would do it all over again. my braxton hicks were nearly as painful as my real contractions, baby was turning and movin into my pelvis and they lasted for a week, me being 18 when i was pregnant i thought i wouldnt know if i was or not, but once i lost my plug i knew i was gonna get contractions soon and about 2 hours later i got my contractions, they can be irregular at first to but they will get regular and more painful. Other signs are also loosing the pluggy mucus or having a show or your waters breaking. some women go through these first before even havin contractions, i lost my plug of mucus first then i had my contractions then the rest followed. Amy Kruse is right even though it hurts so bad, it does feel good to push, and it is such a massive relief to have baby out the only bit that hurt for me while i was pushin was when the head was crownin it feels like a burning/stingin sensation. once you hold that beautiful baby in ur arms you forget all the pain youv just gone through. well thats how i felt anyway. let your body tell you what to do and youll be fine. let the pain go and keep yourself calm, if you fight the pain it will make it alot worse. hope everthing goes well for you and you baby. good luck and best wishes :)

Geraldine - posted on 02/11/2010

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My contractions started off as like a mild period pain and as they got closer, the pain became far more intense in my lower abs and lower back.



As everyone else has said, when you have the contraction, you will know you are having a contraction!

Amy - posted on 02/11/2010

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REALLY killer period cramps that will actually stop you in your tracks if you're trying to walk. i'm gonna go opposite of the epidural suggestion. i got it, my back KILLS all the time now and it didn't even take. I did it with basically no meds since it didn't take. It was not that bad. as soon as you start to think, omg i'm gonna die, this hurts so much, you're pushing, and it helps to FEEL the contractions to get kiddo out faster. plus it feels so good to push. huge relief.

Joanne - posted on 02/11/2010

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mine just felt like period pains until they were about 5minutes apart, then they got more & more intense. As my baby was back to back with me (which the midwife so nicely told me is 'back labour') I had pain all up my back & through my sholder blades & down my legs which was AWFUL!!!! I managed 29hrs of active labour without pain relief then gave in & had epidural - which was a god send! I recommended it to my friend & she also found it amazing, as she said "no one gives you a medal for doing it without pain relief" lol

Angelique - posted on 02/11/2010

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Braxton Hicks feel like subdued period pains that come and go and may last days or months but are not regular or do not become more intense and closer together. This is a common thing during pregnancy so do not worry too much. Real labour/contractions are very severe pains that resemble period cramps just much more intense and they can radiate to your back and legs and these become more intense especially after your water has broken and adapt a pattern such as 5 minutes apart....then maybe 3 minutes apart....get to the hospital....soon!!!

Stephanie - posted on 02/10/2010

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they feel like if someone had their hands inside your stomach and just started twisting your insides from your stomach to your back..and yes when it gets closer to time to have baby it feels like you have to go #2 really bad! my first child was all natural because the ep didnt take, my second child i stood the contractions as long as i could then when i got the ep it was like a piece of cake! we were watching tv and conversating with my doc and hospital staff in between pushing! lol!

Brenda - posted on 02/10/2010

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From my experience, I can say it hurts like nothing you have ever felt before but it probably isn't going to be as bad as your fearing it will. My water broke at 5am with no sing of contractions and I was told when I got to the hospital to get ready for a long wait. By 11:30 I was getting uncomfortable and when noon hit and I was moaning in pain I thought I was a wimp and that things were going to get real bad soon. Turns out I was fully dialated and ready to start moving baby down. She was born at 1:57pm. None of it mattered anyway. As soon as I saw her all was forgiven and I would have done it all over again. Have faith in your body, it knows what to do. Good luck!

Indya - posted on 02/10/2010

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My little girl was what they call "sunny side up" (facing the wrong way), so I had horrible back pain. But to tell you the truth, I have been in worse pain in my life. I do have a high pain tolerance though, and i didn't need an epidural. Every one told me that i "would know" when i was really in labor, and i thought they were retarded.... but they were right. After about 15 minutes of real contractions, I just knew that it was time....it was weird. Just keep in mind that it really is different to every one...goodluck to you!!!

Mishell - posted on 02/10/2010

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LIKE IF YOU HAVE TO TAKE A HUGE CRAP....YOUR BUTT HOLE IS GONNA FEEL LIKE IT'S ABOUT TO EXPLODE... IMAGINE THE WORST STOMACH CRAMPS ON YOUR LOWER BACK AND IN YOUR LOWER ABDOMEN............. IT'S HORRIBLE!! make sure you keep that epidural option available or else you are gonna be one miserable woman! BUT it's all gonna be worth it at the end

Andrea - posted on 02/09/2010

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they do feel like everyone said very similar to period cramp but alot more painful just remember to breath through them or they hurt so much worse trust me!

Jenna - posted on 02/09/2010

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yes braxton hicks are in the same place and not as strong as contractions. Sounds like your having braxton hicks! I have high tolerance for pain so contractions for me are like bad period cramps. Contractions start on the sides of your stomach and work there way to the middle and can be in your back too.

Krista - posted on 02/09/2010

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so is it just your lower stomach like period cramps, or you're whole stomach? cuz yesterday i had cramps in my whole stomach and it was hard, didnt last very long n then went away. so i think that was braxton hicks.. are they the same place as contractions and just not as painful?

Tamara - posted on 02/09/2010

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Contractions are the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. If you have to ask then you probably are not having them. That might be a braxton hick or false labor contraction. If you are experiencing pain so strong that you have crawled into a fetal position then that is definately a contraction.

Michelle - posted on 02/09/2010

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They feel as if you've taken a whole container of laxatives...first they're mild and about 5 minutes apart, and then they come quicker, harder, and longer. Get the epideral!!

[deleted account]

My labor was induced which I have heard makes them worse. At first they felt like severe cramping that gradually became more intense. Then they started feeling like a sharp, stabbing pain and that's when I begged for the epideral.

[deleted account]

i was always saying "how will i know?" and everyone kept saying "you will know when it happens" and that wasnt good enough for me...i needed to know, because what IF i didnt know?

well i think they are different for everyone. I was screaming in pain with each contraction (and i have a very high pain tolerance, eg..a cadallac escalade ran over my foot and i went to work the same day) But i couldnt stand the pain from contractions..other women at the hospital seemed to be fine with them...we were all pacing the hospital corridors ...some were breathing through them, i was screaming through them.

To me it felt like a mix between 100x worse than period cramps, horrible gas pains and even reminded me of when i had gall bladder attacks...for 42 hours my contractions were coming strong...it also felt like A LOT of pressure on my pelvic bone area.

the pushing wasnt the hard part for me. it was the contractions...the pushing took me about an hour, with an episiotomy and help from a vacuum (poor girl got stuck in the birth canal)

when it is all over you will say "it was worth it" good luck

Natalie - posted on 02/09/2010

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Have you every had bad stomach craps from your cycle?
Well, kinda like that just 100x stronger... well, it is different for every woman so it really depends on how your pain tolerance is... mine isn't too bad but my cousin has a very low one...
At the beginning it's not so bad but towards the end of labor it's very painful... then the urge to push was easy to me anyways. It didn't really hurt anymore but it was exhausting and it was just a really intense feeling

Angie - posted on 02/09/2010

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Think of the worst stomach and gas pains you have ever had. That is about what they feel like and they come in waves. Anything lighter then that may be Braxton hicks.

[deleted account]

low cramps start out like period pain but progress... back pain involved... just remember you get to see your sweet babe when ur done!!

Renae - posted on 02/09/2010

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You are smart to ask this question. I was having a planned c-section so I did not attend any birthing classes and knew nothing about contractions. I had read about braxton hicks and when I was having contractions 5 minutes apart, I thought they were braxton hicks because I expected real contractions to hurt more, I thought it would be like screaming pain not just screw your face up pain.

Ok I never had really full on contractions 30 seconds apart because as I said I had a c-section, but the 5 minute apart ones feel like really bad period pain. My lower back also really hurt like someone had kicked me in the back.

Jennifer - posted on 02/09/2010

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BELIEVE me...when a contraction really hits you won't at all be wondering!!!! :)

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