Contractions? what do they REALLY feel like?

[deleted account] ( 171 moms have responded )

I just turned 29 weeks pregnant and I am extremely anxious to go into labor!

but.. I just don't know what to expect, I've asked around a bit and all I keep getting is "feels like really bad menstrual cramps"

is that really it?

because lately my lower back has been hurting like crazy and out of nowhere my belly gets hard ass a rock for at least 30 seconds.. then after quite some time, the same thing happens.

Help! I'm scared of going into labor and not knowing.

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[deleted account]

Wow thanks so much everyone! If it's the Braxton Hicks Contractions then I've been having those for about a week now.. I will make sure to call my doctor ASAP. Thanks again..

Oh by the way.. in between my thighs it feels horrible.. like a sore pain in my pelvic as well it's horrible getting up in the morning.

Charlotte - posted on 01/05/2010




I agree, they do feel like bad period cramps. I'd also say that they make you feel like you're bursting to go to the toilet, back end, but you can't.

[deleted account]

If you are enduced they are more intense and more painful than if labor comes on naturally. It's not really like menstrual cramps. Although, that's probably the best example to give as I can't think of anything else to compare it to. Menstrual cramps times 100. The nice thing is that being on the monitor you can tell when they're coming and then also when they're almost over. If you're enduced, don't feel bad if you request pain medication or the epidural right away. It's way different than natural labor.

Toni - posted on 01/05/2010




Hunny I promise you wont miss the labor pains..... you will know when you cant sleep and walking around doesnt help. If you feel sharp pains around your whole belly and it gets super tight every time most likely those are labor pains!!!! Youll do great just be confident and trust your instincts.

Kathy - posted on 01/05/2010




for me, they felt like menstral cramps. Like when I was starting my period. They gradually got worse. Eventually they get so painful you cry. When they make you scream and then you know it's time to push.

Amy - posted on 01/05/2010




dont get yourself worked up, i am the biggest wimp ever and i managed it, you will defo no when u in labour i felt really uncomfortable all day and had had a backache for 3-5 days and felt that i needed 2 wee all the time, then by 5.30pm i started having contractions that felt like my tummy was tighting although it was under my bump (i expected it 2 b my bump) i had a warm bath and took some paracetamol i then phoned the hospital and they told me 2 come in, i was 3 cm at 9.15pm then i walked around hospital until 11.30 then was 7cm at 11.45 and baby was born at 12.45. i no its not the same 4 every1 but its defo not what i expected and your body takes control! good luck and enjoy your baby xxx

Sh - posted on 01/05/2010




Hi Jessica,

what you are feeling are braxton hicks and they can come and go for weeks. the begining of labor will most likely feel the same way...... but then they will start getting stronger and lasting longer..... you may get tummy contractions only or you can also get back labor which may feel like a back ache that can increase in soreness....... ( a hot water bottle and massage can help ease the discomfort).. your body will let you know when the real labor starts........... contractions will get longer, stronger and come closer together.............. Do not worry your body know what to do,,,,,,,,,,, just relax and enjoy the pregnancy and when the time comes you will know too......... and when the big event comes find a focal point and keep your eyes on it during the contraction and remember to breath slow and steady (mouth breathing usually works best) and no matter how you feel at the time remember what you are working for and when you hold your baby the first time you will know it was worth every min.

Rabecca - posted on 01/05/2010




to me they felt nothing like menstral cramps at all though maybe in the same area except I did have back labour which no lie was awful but at first maybe the first 10 hours I was in early labor was pretty simple it really just felt like someone was tightening my skin and squezzing I was like wow I can do this !! HAHA by the time I went back to the hospital I couldnt walk and I had the worst rummbling hot searing pain in my bladder area it was not what I expected it to feel like at all well long story short I could not calm my self and lost a small amount of digniety because of my none stop crying until the drugs but oh well they see it all the time but the epidurail was amazing except it made me itch like a mad woman but even after the pain and the itch it is so worth it when you get that baby in your arms it just disapears and you come to a point you just cant wait to do it again . Try not to be scared I was really and I think if I would have just been able to calm down and breathe for a moment I could have collected my self a little better and but it is just different for everyone I have always had a really high pain tollerance and never though I would acted like that and on the other hand a friend of my who is the biggest baby was lik wthat was a brezze and no pain meds at all I think it really is a state of mind if you can get into the right place with it you will be just fine I know next time I have a baby I hope I can be more confident and just let my body work the way it should for mr labor was hard but delivery was really short and sweet and for some woman its just the opposite

[deleted account]

you will definetly know when you REALLY go into labor :) but what you are experiencing sounds like braxton hicks they can start almost anytime during your pregnancy if you have more than six in an hour call your doc just to be safe because it could be the start of labor. I would describe contractions as have to pee and having someone sqeezing your bladder to the point that it is painful. I have never heard anyone else describe them that way but for me it didn't really feel like period cramps. My water broke before my contractions started I don't know if that is why it felt like intense pressure on my bladder instead of the more common menstrual like pain. kinda like when the baby is on it only 100x worse. each of my friends has described it differently so it's hard to predict what they will be like for you.

don't let bad experiences scare you everyones birth experiences are unique. I had a great delivery it went very smooth just make sure you go in ready to except change if things don't happen exactly how you wanted

Carolee - posted on 01/05/2010




Okay, when they say "really bad menstrual cramps", they mean "REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad menstrual cramps". Some women (like me) get back cramps that shoot up the spine. Here's another way to put it... you know how, when someone get electrocuted their muscles tighten up extremely hard... imagine that for just your belly. You don't get the hurt of the electrocution (obviously), but it's that kind of tightening. I got an epidural after 20 hours, and I am DEFINATELY not going to wait that long for this next one! Good luck, though. You honestly will forget exactly how much it hurts. It's mainly extreme discomfort.

Hannah - posted on 01/05/2010




hey, yh every woman feels it all differently. i worried myself sick and to be honest, id do it all again, labour wasnt any where near as bad as people said. yh it hurts like no pain you have ever felt but its sooooo worth it when you hold your baby x x good luck x

Letyce - posted on 01/05/2010




What you're feeling sounds like Braxton Hicks (like the other girls said). You are on the early side for labor. Contractions feel different for everyone. They can feel like a mentrual cramp, you're belly tightens, you could have pressure in your lower abdomen, lower back pain, or even a little like constipation pain. Everyone is different. If you notice these "contractions" you have now get regular or increase in intensity or you lose your mucus plug then definitely see your doctor. Although you may just want to go in to get confirmation that what you are feeling are Braxton Hicks. I think just hearing it from your doctor will ease your mind and put your body in a more relaxed state. =)

Traci - posted on 01/05/2010




What are you doing when these "contractions" happen? I had similiar pains like the back hurting and my belly getting hard when I was at work lifting things/people. The real contractions I had hurt more in the front and anytime I would have one I had to get up to walk. It did not feel like cramps until much later. Early off it was just a feeling of pressure. If you are unsure, just go/call your dr. or midwife. Better safe than sorry.

Chelsea - posted on 01/05/2010




it depends, my monther inlaw had no drugs or anything and said she felt perfectly fine, no big deal.. and my mom as well.. i hate them! lol if you went by what i felt, i'll tell you honestly, expect hell darling. i tried to rough myself up before going in, theres no such thing. i would describe it as a heart attack in your lower belly. and a lot of women say after birth they feel great right after, no not for me. i couldn't even focus on my bundle of joy, i was begging for pain killers. good luck is all i can say, and pray that your one of those people i do not like hahaha

Krista - posted on 01/05/2010




You might be having Braxton-Hicks. Just keep a log of when they happen -- if they become at all regular, call the hospital and tell them what's going on.

My contractions felt like this steady buildup of tension in my abdomen, rising quickly to a very strong clenching sensation, peaking with what felt like a giant hand squeezing my entire midsection as hard as it could, and then dropping back down, only to start right back up again. But I was on Pitocin, and hear that those contractions are a lot worse than regular ones.

And even then, it was worth it. :)

Erin - posted on 01/05/2010




If you are in labor, you will know it! But if in doubt, talk to your doctor. My labor pains came with a lot of downward pressure down through my bottom and even into my thighs. They start out just feeling like a tightening and progress to something that feels like really bad constipation cramps. Good luck and just remember...we have all lived through it and you will too!

Sarah - posted on 01/05/2010




Contractions do feel like menstrual cramps. They start out not to bad and then get worse little by little. What your having is most likely something called Braxton Hicks. Here's a link that should help you. I got them a lot when I was pregnant. Trust me you'll know when it's the real thing. Hope this helps you!

Debbie - posted on 01/05/2010




Hi Jessica, trust me, you will not go into labour and not know about it! Dont be anxious which is easy for me to say now a year on! I HATE pain but i got through it with the help of my partner. I wont lie, the pain is like nothing you will have experienced before but once you are holding your baby, you will remember nothing of the pain you were in! My back hurt like crazy for weeks and the belly going hard is normal, i think theyre call Braxton Hicks.

My waters didnt break at all, i just went straight into labour. The pains started at 8pm and i went to hospital at 11.45 to be told i was fully dilated and ready to give birth!

Just enjoy being pregnant and dont worry about the labour, it'll be over before you know it and you'll have your beautiful baby. If you have any other questions i'll be pleased to try and answer them for you x

Jessica - posted on 01/05/2010




Well usually your belly getting hard is a contraction. Itc ould be a Braxton Hicks contraction, which is like a "practice" contraction and they don't usually hurt. I had them my entire pregnancy pretty much; if they get annoying try drinking water and resting on your left side. 29 weeks is awfully early to go into labor so I might mention that to your doctor, especially if its coupled with back pain.

As for actual labor contractions, I think they feel differently for everyone. I didn't realize I was in labor for most of the day because mine didn't feel like what I thought they should feel like. I just felt crampy and uncomfortable, with a lot of back pain and a lot of pressure. He was facing the wrong way, sunny side up, which would explain the back labor I had. I also had a lot of bloody show. But for me in the early stages, the pain wasn't stop and start like I imagined a contraction would be like. And it didn't seem intense enough for it to be "real" labor! It wasn't until later in hthe afternoon that I coulkd actually pick out contractions to time them. And by the time I got to the hospital I was 5 cm, and had him 2 hours later.

Katrina - posted on 01/05/2010




Hey Jessica, every woman's contractions are different. They can feel like menstrual cramps which is the most common, or they can feel like someone is squeezing too hard. There's other ways to feel contractions as well. With my daughter, I started getting contraction in the front on Sunday and I was due Monday so I got excited but I just kept getting contractions without anything major happening and they weren't close to being frequent. Thursday morning, I had a wierd pain in my back. Long story short, I ended up in the hospital. I ended up having back labour, which is quite painful. I gave birth early Friday morning. My point is, if you;re unsure go to your doctor or hospital and get checked out. At 29 weeks, you're still quite a bit early for labour. It's possible to have a preemie but I would get checked out just in case. Sorry if this doesn't help. It may or it may not. Just remember, everyone's contractions and body tolerance for pain is different. As I said, if you're unsure get checked out. Even if nothing's wrong atleast you'll know you and the baby are ok.

Laura - posted on 01/05/2010




honestly, they really do feel like bad menstrual cramps in my opinion. but perhaps everyone experiences labour differently. everyone has different tolerance to pain. i think it is really important for you to focus on relaxing - the more anxious you are the more difficult labour will be. try to train your mind - convince yourself - that you are a strong woman who can deliver this baby no matter what.

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