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Readers Respond: What do contractions feel like?

Responses: 200


Updated March 19, 2009

25 weeks with# 2

My epidural didn't work with my 5yr son and the pain was outrageous I got in trouble for cursing to much but I don't remember having braxton hicks witj him.I am now 25 weeks pregnant with a lil girl and started having bh very early and they drive me crazy but I'm ready for labor this time not even planning on an epi (hopefully). I think that's the reason my son was born with 3 pushes.
—Guest Candice

birth stories are like war stories

People often make birth sound like being on their death bed in the grips of unbearable pain. No doubt some women are very sensitive and maybe have a more difficult labor, but I feel this has more to do with your personal pain threshold. I had my first baby at 17, was induced with a balloon and pitocin. Labor lasted 20 hours,pushed with my feet to ease the pain, which I think inflicted more pain on the people holding my feet. I had an epidural at 6 cm, and the epi cord had a kink in it, which wasn't discovered till after birth. They gave me a pain med at 7cm via iv, I took a nap, woke up fulling dilated with an overwhelming instinct to push, pushing lasted 20 minutes, the only part that was truly pain was the fast decent into the canal caused me to rip, the pain was instant and gone just as fast. Labor was no where near as terrible as my expectations. Now I'm 26 years old, and 38 weeks pregnant, I hope to go into labor without induction, then maybe I'll have to repost my war story.
—Guest randi

Oh yeah it hurts!

I'm 17 weeks with my 2nd one now. Around 7pm, water broke while I was at the mall with the 1st one. I was only 36 weeks then so went to the ER with no pain so they sent me home. Around 3am, I started to feel pain that felt like menstrual cramps, but more uncomfortable. I went to the ER again at 5am being 2cm dilated. Then it was downhill from then on. It felt like menstrual cramps times 10! I had epidural when I was 7cm dilated and I was relieved! I still felt some pain during the one hour of pushing though but it was not too bad thanks to epidural. After a total of 18 hours, my girl was finally born. I would definitely go for epidural this time round. There's no doubt about it.
—Guest Zhuyan

I want this to be over

I really am so tired already. I can't wait for this pregnancy to be over. I'm exhausted I can't breath right now I'm 33 weeks this will be my 5th child I want to see my baby I'm so impatient I also am praying that I will have a vaginal delivery not a c-section I'm patiently waiting for them to let me know whether or not I have a complete placenta previa. I also am having lots of Braxton hicks contractions there such a tease. Also I can't sleep I toss an turn each position hurts when I wake up in the morning I'm just miserable. So to all you moms out there I want to say be strong it will be over soon. :)
—Guest Rebecca

27 hours

I am 20 weeks with 2nd child and have way more Braxton Hicks this time, and earlier. My 1st daughter was a kicker and broke my water 6 days early. My labor was REALLY slow and hard. 27 hours later (epidural after 6 and 10 cm for last 3 hours) had her c-section because her shoulders were stuck.... 8lbs and perfectly healthy. It was rough! I was grateful for the drugs except for the recovery and swelling. I am having the 2nd c-section too because the recovery after 27 hours AND a c-section was too much! I basically recovered from both types of labor at the same time!
—Guest naturelvr12

I am impatient

I'm 33 weeks pregnant with my 5 child. It's so hard for me I have a 7, 4, 3, 13 month toddler. l'm constantly going up and down the stairs I'm tired having frequent contractions I just want this to be over I normally make it till 37 weeks so 4 more weeks I'm scared cause I have a complete placenta previa. I'm use to vaginal deliveries. I'm scared of a c section.
—Guest Sexyhotbabefish


39 weeks tomorrow and totally clueless... I've had some feelings of crampiness... sometimes my pelvis kills... the last 2 months have been pretty uncomfortable from bad yeast infections and hemorrhoids... I really don't know what to expect during labor. I've had menstrual cramps so bad that I would have to take pain killers in the past and I always have back pain as I competed in full contact sports. I'm nervous.
—Guest nic

Didn't recognize pre-term labour

I went into pre-term labour at 31 weeks, and had my daughter at 32 1/2 weeks. I was getting cramps that I would describe as being very similar to 'period cramps', which I assumed to be Braxton Hicks. I was told later by my midwives that the fact that they were similar to period cramps should have alerted me, as Braxton Hicks would feel less like these cramps. Luckily, we did recognize it early enough to have some time on bedrest (and they were able to give me steroids to help develop her lungs) before I gave birth to a perfectly healthy 'almost' 4 lb girl. After 3 weeks in hospital she has thrived and has had no health issues at all.
—Guest Alison


Women were created to reproduce and that means we are all have to endure the pain of being in labour one way or another. Its an enjoyable & memorable experience that no other woman can explain to you except YOU! This is my 3rd pregnancy,(29weeks) last two were both Normal delivery, and I expect the same for this one. The pain will come & go, but its that bundle of joy that beats all the pain.

2nd time round

I thought I had had hicks with my 1st but now realize at 31wks with my second that I didn't at all as they have them v regular this time, not painful just tightening feeling like someone is squeezing me don't mind then just gets bit difficult when bending or working oh and wakes me up at night too, I had more pain with my first probably due to all the stretching as I was tiny labour is less scary for me this time as it was the fear of the unknown I don't like and that’s coming from someone who had a long and unpleasant labour experience! Its like a hangover you think you'll never do it again but you forget the feeling and it all happens again.
—Guest gemz

Every pregnancy is different, w/ respect

I'm 40 weeks 5 days. No contractions yet but spotting all week. The spotting is getting heavier. 2day though I feel mild menstrual like cramps and painful when walking but throughout this pregnancy, it has been very uncomfortable and painful. My 1st was a breeze. Little to no Braxton hicks.Perfect labor perfect pregnancy (except for the weight gain and mood swings).... With this pregnancy, painful Braxton early on at 6mths lasting 30 secs every minute or two for 1 whole day... But either way, I love being pregnant (except for weight gain and mood swings).
—Guest Waiting on 2

each woman's experience is unique

When I was pregnant with my son a well-meaning friend who'd already had children told me, "It no big deal. Having a baby is like having bad gas." So I was totally unprepared for the avalanche of pain I was about to experience. The initial contractions were light, but when they got going they hurt quite a bit but I could still manage. Then the epidural came and... ahhhh... I felt nothing. That is until it wore off completely just as I reached 10 cm and they told me it was time to push. The pain was beyond excruciating. I cried, screamed, panicked, you name it. Two hours of pushing like this before the baby came and right afterward I felt so traumatized I said I could never do that again. And I didn't. I only had the one child. But everyone's experience is completely unique and I think mine was unusual. My baby was 9-1/2 lbs and the fact that the meds quit just as I needed them most. Most women do quite well and most say afterward, "It was worth it." I just wasn't one of them.
—Guest Bonnie

Everyone is different.

My pregnancy has been smooth sailing. Everyone has completely different pregnancies which means everyone will have a different labour experience! I was due yesterday & am so ready & anxious for my baby boy. I guess the only advice anyone should listen to is to RELAX & tell yourself labour is natural & our bodies are made for birthing a baby. Aside from the pain it's a wonderful thing what our bodies can do. :)
—Guest MissDawne.

It's not about pain thresholds.

It's not about pain thresholds. Nobody can measure someone else's pain. Each of us is different physically an mentally. Just like some like a particular food and some don't, some find labour very agonizing and others uncomfortable. Nobody can tell you what to feel or how to cope. I didn't feel like I coped at all. I've had 2 natural births, and one C section, 32 weeks now with my 4th. Child birth FOR ME was very painful BUT that's why its called labour. Its work you have to do. You will survive, its only pain. I went into like a trance, withdrew into myself, just me and the pain. I pictured waves on a surf beach building then crashing on the shore before receding back into the sea. Those were my contractions. You have to learn to ride them. And at the end you have a baby. A child that's yours to love forever. Its a few hours of pain in your long life. Its not the birth that matters. I don't look at my teenage boys and recall my labour, that's not what having a child is about.

It feels like you are dying!

My midwife & her words will always stay with me & I will pass them onto my daughter..."A women has a child vaginally BUT she gives birth with her mind" I know this might sound strange but until you are in that moment where nothing else matters you will understand that to give birth we need to be emotionally & mentally prepared. It is a big journey we embark on as women when we birth our children both physically, mentally & emotionally so we need to ensure that we tell ourselves before & during the process that we can do. As nasty as this sounds NO ONE can help you birth your baby you have to do it. At the point when the pain peaks you will find you start to look inwardly & your focus is purely on your pain & getting through it, your baby & of course getting it out. After its all done & dusted I promise you will feel such a sense of pride & accomplishment that you actually gave birth, life to your child in essence you DID IT & your around to tell the story!
—Guest Vanessa

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