What did/does contractions feel/felt like for you?

Gina - posted on 09/13/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Hi, I am due in a week and 1 day. I am certain I lost my mucous plug last week. Doc told me I am 2cm dilated, but I was told that at my appointment which was on Sept 4 so I don't know if there has been any changes. I will be finding out at my next appt which is this coming Tues. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I have dilated some more because I am sick of waiting and it is getting quite uncomfortable for me.



Anyway I was just wondering what contractions are/were like that you ladies may have experienced? Was it like cramps but intense? Did it feel sharp, and around your lower stomach near the pelvis area?



I've been getting those for some time now but it isn't regular. It comes and goes real fast. Doesn't really linger much, maybe for like 2 or 3 mins. So I am not sure if it's just a normal thing, or if I'm actually having contractions.



I'd love to hear your experiences, ladies. I'd appreciate it a lot! It'd maybe put my mind to ease too. So describe it in any way the best you can, please!



Thanks in advance :)

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Melissa - posted on 09/13/2009

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Mom and former L&D nurse here. Contractions feel different for everyone, but the basic process is the same. Your uterus is a big hollow muscle full of baby at this point. A contraction is when the muscle fibers in your uterus shorten and pull the whole thing tight around the baby. Early/mild ones may feel like the baby is "balling up" inside you, with no pain or cramping.



I remember my mild ones reminding me of watching earthworms on the sidewalk after it rained: the way they shorten their bodies and then stretch out again looks like contractions feel to me.



Stronger, active labor contractions had that same "pulling together" sensation, but strong enough in the middle that I couldn't pay attention to anything else. If someone was trying to talk to me it felt painful, but as long as I was inward-focused it just registered as "intense sensation."



If you lie down on your side and rest your hand on the top of your belly, you can feel a contraction happening. The top of your uterus will gradually "ball up" and then relax again until it's so soft you can't feel the muscle, only baby parts. Whatever sensations you're experiencing in your belly, back, or pelvis while it's "balled up" is what your contractions feel like to you.

Lindsay - posted on 09/14/2009

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WOW!!! Everyone's labor is different. I had my first 4 months ago and it felt like yesterday.

I went to the doctor on a Monday and he said that I was already 5 cm( I hadn't felt any contractions what so ever) He didn't want to send me the hospital bc I wasn't even 37 weeks yet.He said I had a bulging bag and I would have her within the next couple of days. Well, 2 days later, I woke up with ALOT of pressure down there. The doc told me to go ahead and go to the hospital, I hadn't dialated anymore, but they kept me. The doc got there and broke my water at 5:20 pm and as soon as he did I got a really bad "diarreah" cramp and I went to the bathroom. As soon as I sat down, I had a really bad contraction. It felt like a really bad muscle spasm in my lower belly. Then I had a really bad ache in my lower back. I kept moving the bed up and down trying to relieve some of the pain ( Nothing works!!!). I went from 5 -7 from 7 - 9 and stayed at 9 3/4 cm for an hour. I had promised myself that I wouldn't have an epidural and didn't. I have a pretty good pain tolerance, and I was in the worst pain I had ever felt. At about 9 cm, I felt major pressure down there and I kept saying I had to push. Don't push until the doc tells you it's okay. It took me an hour to push her out. The total labor was exactly 5 hours long. I hope to have been informative to you and good luck!!!

Tara - posted on 09/14/2009

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You will have various aches and pains now, what you are describing sounds like either Braxton-Hicks contractions (which do sometimes feel like true labor but don't become regular and don't help dilation) or some ligament stretching pain.
For me contractions feel like all the muscles across my belly, pelvis and lower back are squeezing tight. Can get pretty intense, but not really a sharp pain - the sharp pain for me was always ligament stretching.
I'm due in about a week, and I've been having Braxton-Hicks contractions on a regular basis since I was around 33 weeks, so I know how it feels to keep hoping you're actually going into labor. Honestly though, I was dilated to 3 cm for the last 8-9 weeks with my first child, and still had to be induced - she was almost 3 weeks late.
I know it's uncomfortable waiting, but the ball is pretty much in the baby's court now.

Merari - posted on 09/13/2009

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Hi Gina, I just had my last 3mths ago, and each time i forgot, until I would get that real bad pain on my pelvis, and yes, felt like cramps. It gets very intense, and u would have to time ur self. You will know if it's false contractions cause the pain doesn't last long. With the real contractions, like mentioned above, it's intense, it feels like cramps, ur back starts hurting and u can't be still, no matter what position the pain won't go away. Time urself, and then call ur doctor let her know how long apart they r. I was 7 dilated when i called and the doctor told me to go in. I hope this helps.

Angie - posted on 09/14/2009

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Everyone of my labors have been different--the first was like mild cramping that progressively got worse,my water didnt break until right br=efore the baby came--which was very fast(only 1hr10min total) The 2nd felt more of a burning cramping pain that started off pretty bad and my water didint break until right before the baby (only 45 min total labor) the 3rd I felt a wierd popping sensationand when I stood up my water broke and I went into labor--cramping that would stop me in my tracks-had to breathe through it all,My labor got really painfull with that one--the first 2 had been all natural and I had planned on this one being the same way but halfway through it I chickend out and asked for an epidural--but as soon as they came to do it I had the baby,no drugs,yeah! It will be ok-no matter how bad it hurts you wont remember it once you have that baby in your arms;)Just watch for cramping even mild cramping--braxton hicks usually go away if you drink water and move around so If you do that and they stick around it might be the real deal.goodluck

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Alicia - posted on 07/23/2013

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Took 3 hit all negative.i also had a pap smear done but obgyn said no i wasn't Pree. But i have all the synthoms on been pregnant even the missed period but don't know if its that i have a tube ligation but also have movements inside me .my menstrual started action up on may one day in June 3days bit lighter then normal n in July was to have my menstrual on the 5 but no... Can anyone help me n i thinly it to early for menopause
Im so lost

Gina - posted on 09/16/2009

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Okay I was out with my boyfriend and some friends at Home Depot. After a while of walking around I began to get really intense pain across my lower stomach!! At first I thought it might be my ligaments or something because I had that horrible pain on my right lower stomach before and the doc said it's probably just the ligament. That was like two weeks ago now.

Anyway recently tonight I had the pain go across my lower stomach and I thought I might be having contractions, but after a while I began getting braxton hicks at the same time. It was frustrating cause I can't really tell the difference when it is both happening at the same time! Did that ever happen to any one of you ladies?

So we got home, and the pain got really intense. I couldn't concentrate well on whether they were coming/going so I walked around our place. It gradually went away but it still feels funny down there. Twinges a bit once in a while, plus I keep getting braxton hicks still! I timed myself as well, but they weren't regular.

Argh! I really want this baby out now! :P

Ashley - posted on 09/14/2009

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my contractions were completely different for both my boys. i was induced forboth but with different things. i had cervadil for my first and oxytocin for my 2nd. at 6 cm for my first my contractions were very tolerable. i was able to just focus and not cry in pain. with my 2nd some of my water broke at home. i called, they told me to come in but they were going to send me home. they ended up keeping me because my BP was high. i was 4 cm dialated and still wasnt feeling anything. they broke the rest of my water and i still wasnt feeling anything. they gave me the oxytocin and within 15 mins i was in severe pain. it is like period cramps but were a ton worse. they were all around and i was sick with the pain. when the pain was severe i was 6 cm dialated. i never lost my mucous plug but my sister lost hers about a wk or 2 before the baby was born. trust me you will know when its time.

Sammy - posted on 09/13/2009

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Congratulations Gina!!

I had my first baby 9 weeks ago.

I didnt get any braxton hicks, my waters broke and didnt have any pain until 4 hours later.

I couldnt stop walking around, i think thats why my labour went so fast!

I honestly thought it would have hurt alot more, i didnt even think i was in full labour!

If it wasnt for my husband wanting to go to the hospital, i would of had her at home...we arrived at the hospital at 1.30am and she was out 55min later!



I think with me i thort the pain was going to be SO BAD that i worked myself up, and it ended up not being as bad!



Like other ladied have said, everyone is different!



Good luck with it all hun

Remember to breath =)

Gina - posted on 09/13/2009

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Thank you so much, ladies, for sharing your contraction experiences! They were helpful. I appreciated the little tips too.

I have just been experiencing a lot of braxton hicks which is certainly annoying! I am really hoping she decides to pop out earlier than my due date because I cannot wait any longer. It is so uncomfortable, and I want to hold her so bad and see what she looks like.

Thank you ladies, again! :)

Hope you all had a great weekend. xo

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For me, it felt like a 'diarreah cramp'...but a 12 hour cramp that is! I've always dealt quite well with pain, and so for me, it was manageable. For my 1st child, I just got some oxygen and Demorol, and for my daughter my contractions felt quite differently. For hers, it was way more intense ... I was experiencing a placental rupture and so, she was born via ceasarian. Just remember to breathe through them and please take some CHAP STICK...with all that breathing, your lips will chap!!! Good luck, and don't be afraid. By the end, you don't even think about the pain, you just want your baby out!!! Good luck!

Nadya - posted on 09/13/2009

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I agree with Ms. Danielle, my contractions felt the same but when its time to push it feels like u have to shit and u get the urge to push and sometimes u cant control it and just have to push.

Sharon - posted on 09/13/2009

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they felt like nothing at first, later like a bad back ache and finally like someone had slammed a corkscrew into my back and was viciously twisting it and winding up my back muscles. I got the epidural and was sublimely happy.

User - posted on 09/13/2009

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In February I had my first baby and like you I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I remember telling my doctor that I was afraid I wouldn't know when I was having a contraction because I didn't know what they felt like and her response to me was "trust me - you'll know!". She was right. Keep in mind that everyone's body, pregnancy and labour is different, but this is based on my own experience. I know you have probably read this before, but the pain really does start off feeling like a really bad period cramp. There is a lot of pressure that is placed on the tummy area, for me it began at the top of my belly, just below the breastbone area, but then progressed to the pelvic area very quickly. I felt my first contraction at about 10:30pm and by 12:00am my water had broken, so things progressed very quickly for me. I kept the hospital triage number close by and simply called whenever necessary to ask whether or not I should be heading down. Believe me, they are used to this and will understand a first time mom calling in with questions.



It sounds to me like you are experiencing braxton hicks contractions which ARE contractions, but are generally mild and indicate that labour isn't that far, not that you are actually IN labour. Just remember that when you start to experience labour contractions, chances are that you will notice the difference. They will be stronger, more regular, and of course, your water MAY break. Write down the times of your contractions as well how long they last. This will help you keep track and will be a nice little keepsake to have later on. Also, you know your body better than anyone else, so do what it tells you and what feels right for you. If you have a low threshold for pain and are concerned don't be afraid to ask for pain medication or an epidural if that is what YOU want. Remember, you want to enjoy this experience and no one is going to be waiting in your room with a medal if you deliver without it. It's a personal choice, but it has to be whatever you are comfortable with. Most importantly, just remember this: women have been delivering babies for millions of years and many women today deliver without a hospital or doctor anywhere nearby. Most of us are fortunate enough to have modern science, God (or whatever you believe in) and a really good nurse and doctor to help, so don't worry. Trust me, you will get through it and once you hold your baby in your arms, you really will forget all of the pain that the little munchkin put you through.



Here's hoping to a very quick and smooth labour for you! All the best! :)

Gina - posted on 09/13/2009

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Thank you everyone for relpying to my post!! Appreciate it a lot. :)

Melissa, wow thank you so much! I totally understand that description and have a good idea now of what is happening to me.

Thanks again everyone :) It is my first child and I am pretty nervous but excited here.

Lauren - posted on 09/13/2009

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I agree with Cathy....when they really start...you will know. My first was a month late and I had the braxton hicks a lot but didn't know what was going on. Then in the middle of the night I woke up to the real thing and I knew it was time. Hang in there and when the due date comes and goes with no baby in your arms don't fret. They can't stay in there forever...it just feels like they will....LOL. Congratulations!

Cathy - posted on 09/13/2009

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Every woman is different when it comes to labour and contractions.My experience of labour and contractions were a bit scary. i was having my first baby and didn't know what to expect. For me the labour felt long, like i was going no where.At the begining of my labour i had some back pain and pressure before the contractions started.they say if you lose your mucus plug and you have a large bowel movement it's a good sighn the baby is ready and labour will start. The contractions for me weren't really a pain for me in the begnining. It felt more like somone was sqeezing my torso and making it hard to breath.after about 3 hours i started to feel pain like large cramping when you have your period but 10x worse. I asked for the epideral so i could have some comfort.Biggest mistake ever. i was more uncomfortable then before. i have half frozen and getting sharp pains in my sides.another hour later i had me beautiful son in my arms. If you are having some cramping it's normal but they call it braxtin hicks contractions. it's preparing your uterus for delivery.When you start having contraction you will know. Good luck and i hope iv helped :)

D'Andrea - posted on 09/13/2009

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well my contractions was very painful, almost to where you wanna cry! Hell i did cry! lol. They are/were crumps but much stronger and sharper. When the baby come dwn u will feel alot of pressure on ur pelvic area. Its a very painful experience but u should look at it as a blessing! Good luck and congratulations on ur 1st child.

Danielle - posted on 09/13/2009

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For me it felt like really really bad cramps. It felt as if I had to go to the bathroom and couldn't. I didn't start having pains until my water broke. The pain is in your pelvic area & in the begining mine was not regular. They would only last for a few minutes. I hope I was helpful to you.

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