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Readers Respond: What do contractions feel like?

Responses: 200


Updated March 19, 2009

I didn't feel a thing.

The braxton hicks I had with my first child sent me to the ER almost every week they were so painful. I was expecting labor to be terrible. She ended up late and I was induced with Pitocin at 2 am. I slept that entire day. They were actually much less painful than BH. It was just tightening. My water broke at 10 am. I had an epidural and didn't even feel a twinge of pain until her head crowned. And most of that pain was just mental because I was scared I was tearing.
—Guest Guest Jesse


I am a grandmother and have had 3 children but labor was an entirely different experience for me than for most women because the was never any pain at all just a feeling of a muscle tightening.

Not pleasant

I am 5 days past my due date with my first baby. This morning I woke up at 230am with a really bad cramping feeling and thought I had to use the bathroom, which I didn't. The pain went away but came back within 10 mins. It is now 4pm and I'm still having contractions about every 10 mins. Walking around, changing position, or lying down has not helped at all. The pain isn't unbearable, but it definitely isn't a picnic. Some of the contractions are so intense I just want to curl up in a ball, while others I'm simply telling myself to just breathe and stay calm. I can feel them coming on and know exactly when they peak and start to recede. At my doctor's appointments they have been asking me if I've felt contractions, and I've said no because I honestly didn't know what one felt like and was worried I wouldn't be able to recognize them, but trust me you know once they start. I didn't experience any BH contractions, so I can't describe how those might feel. I hope helps.
—Guest Katie

The longest week in my life

I'm 39 weeks, expecting a baby girl my due date is in 2 days, but this week has been the longest ever! Yesterday I had an appointment and I'm 2cm dilated, I wish I can do something to dilate faster. I'm getting Braxton hicks very often but not strong pains at all, just little and sharp ones. Hopefully I'll have my baby girl this weekend! :p
—Guest Dilenny

It varies

With my first, I had what many would call an easy birth. 4 hours of contractions and 4 hours of established labour, 8 hours total and my baby was born, the worst part pain wise was the head crowning but that doesn't take long. This time though have been in slow labour for a week am 40+5, and the contractions vary in strength from mildly uncomfortable to doubled up unable to speak or move. I suffer from spd which only increases the amount of pain I'm in. I'm not saying this to tell a "horror" story, it's just that every pregnancy is different as is every labour, what you get may be completely different. On an extra note .. Horror stories don't come from women with low pain thresh holds and anyone callus enough to believe that what they had was as bad as it gets therefore other women are weak need to do a little research and keep their mouths shut, women in lots of pain aren't pain intolerant, I know this cause I had my son on gas and air, show some understanding not dismissive behaviour
—Guest Beccie

They hurt alright

I'm 33 weeks pregnant with my second I wouldn't say its too bad I went all natural with 17 hours of back labor it definately hurt but I'm going to again. Just stay calm relaxed and breathe slowly and deeply through it all and you'll be just fine we are made to do it
—Guest they hurt

Let your body be the judge no one else!

I am on my third pregnancy and this one has been very different indeed, in my experience contractions do really hurt ! But staying calm and trusting your body helps - if you need drugs have them! Don't worry what anyone may think of you it is nothing to do with them. I have a friend who cries about having mild headache but can give birth with only the need for a couple of paracetamols and another friend who is deemed very tough and never moans about pain etc simply can not give birth naturally. My description of contractions is this, they build up starting low down the back and moving round to the front of the stomach like bad period cramps, the stomach hardens the pain reaches a peak and then slowly recedes back to nothing you may feel the urge to use the toilet or change position it continues like this but they get closer together and more intense and last longer until you give birth!
—Guest lucy

It really hurts

I know it hurts cause the other nite I had some bad contractions and I tell you it don't feel to good. I was in a good mood when I went to bed but when I awoke I found myself crying and just laying in one spot. My boyfriend tried to help me by rubbing my belly but I got mad at him because it didn't do any good. He rolled over and went back to bed. Those pains are serious.
—Guest lovely blaque

First time

I am 18. 40 weeks and 5 days overdue with my first baby boy. I really don't know what to expect, but you guys have described wat I been feeling all day. Sharp crampy pains, feeling Like I need to poop ex.. I'm kinda scared anyone!!! Also in the morning when I got up to the bathroom I felt like throwing up!
—Guest Nelly

Not sure

I'm not sure what is going on. I have really bad cramp pains and like a stabbing pain down there. They feel worse when I walk around or do something for to long.I am 18 with my first child. At 40 weeks and 3 days. I don't want to be induced.
—Guest Nelly

Labor is called labor, for a reason!

I am 33 weeks with baby #2 and can't wait! I had to be induced with my first at 38 weeks. I was in labor for about 7 hours with piggy back contractions, I was not getting a break. So I gave in and got a shot of morphine which didn't help the pain, just gave me a rest. It lasted about an hour. Which was much needed. Going into labor I just prepared myself that it is going to be painful, there's nothing I can do about it (because I personally didn't want an epidural), it's not going to last forever, so, try to enjoy it. My worst point was going from 8 to 10 cm. Very very painful. But in the end, didn't last very long. Then I pushed for about 15 minutes, and he was here. And you forget about everything you just went through. You are just so focused on that little bundle. It is great!
—Guest GuestAllie

What I'm feeling...

I'm pregnant and I just passed my due date... My due date was a few days ago. I'm definitely feeling stronger braxton hicks contractions like they coming really hard and they are very painful and I can't support it, I feel like cleaning mostly everyday and also I'm having diarrhea. I'm hoping that I go into labor soon before they induce me.
—Guest Yessi

I was a wimp

I have a 7 yr old. I had to be induced and it took almost a whole day. When the first contraction came I demanded my epidural man. The contraction wasn't even that bad but I wasn't about to live the horror stories I heard of pain and suffering. Don't let anyone tell u it doesn't hurt. It kills. 31 weeks along with my second and I plan on using the drugs again. Modern medicine is around for a reason ... take advantage ... I don't remember most of my delivery and I'm OK with that cause I do remember holding my lil girl when it was over. My mother said I laughed through most of it LOL ... I imagine I was having a wonderful time.
—Guest linny

Not Really so Bad

I've had contractions described to me as 'whole body' or 'squeezing the body' but they weren't like that for me at all. My back hurt so much that other sensations were drowned out by it. I didn't have any painkillers during my labor with my daughter, simply coped with excruciating back pain right up until I was allowed to push with pushing contractions. Also, the back pain stopped once I started having pushing contractions. Pushing was incredibly easy for me. My daughter was out with 2 pushes and I had but a minor tear which I didn't feel. She was 6lbs 8oz and a week after her due date. I was only in the hospital for 45 minutes before I had her but had been in labor for probably close to 14 hrs (didn't sleep that night at all and didn't really keep track of when it started exactly). I don't remember having BH contractions much in that pregnancy, but I did have false labor a few days before I went into actual labor which was much less intense but had a regularity to it.
—Guest Becky

Yeah right!

I haven't found a story like mine, so here goes. I have Sickle Cell Disease, a blood disorder that can cause a TREMENDOUS amount of pain. The best way to describe it is as if you have a tooth ache that can occur ANYWHERE blood runs in your body. I had always heard how painful labor was, so I was a little anxious. I had to be induced at 38 weeks, & I had always heard that being induced was VERY painful. Once the contractions started, they were a little uncomfortable, but not too bad. As the hours went by I was still ok, until all of a sudden my hips started hurting! Then my legs started, & it was Sickle Cell Pain. I usually take narcotics for pain relief, but that wouldn't work this time. It was so bad that the contractions felt like mild menstrual cramps next to the Sickle Cell pain. In the end, I had to get an epidural. Not for the contractions, but to stop the pain in my legs & hips. Despite all of that, any pain is worth it when you get to see the baby you carried for around 40 weeks.
—Guest DeeDaa

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