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Readers Respond: What do contractions feel like?

Responses: 164


Updated March 19, 2009


I'm 18, 25 weeks prego and freaking out about labor!! I don't like for my mom to see me be weak so I'm hoping I can cover the pain up but I'm doubting that after reading these stories
—Guest Hailey

Not Nervous

I'm about 28 weeks and just started experiencing braxton hicks contractions. Uncomfortable yes, but not too bad. Believe it or not the thing I am most nervous about with my coming labor is the placenta coming out... Odd I know. I'm really not too scared of the birth itself just what happens after. I'm a little squeamish and the thought of a bloody sack coming out of me bothers me worse than a 7 pound crying pooping baby. Crazy huh?
—Guest Kaycee

First baby...

Im pregnant with my first child...am due in 2 days and having a boy. Pregnancy to begin with was horrible, had the worst morning sickness ever, physically couldn't stop, day or night. That stopped when was about 5 months. Rest of pregnancy been fine, got hot flushes on and off but was fine overall. The last couple of weeks has been bit harder, got bad back aches, hard to get comfortable sitting down and lying down. If I stood straight, it looked like my whole stomach had shifted to the side, looked and felt very strange!! Now, I'm getting the same back pain but also tightening feelings in my stomach and side, it feels like pulling inside. Loads of people have told me different stories of what contractions feels like but I think it all depends on the person and the pregnancy. I don't think Ive had any contractions as such, doesn't feel what people have described but then again mine could be completely different. Am just going to sit back and wait for it to happen.....fingers crossed its soon
—Guest Kirsty

I said "Wipe me!"

At first it starts like diarrhea. You get tremendous cramps and feel like being in the restroom and pushing constantly.
—Guest Sandy Mendez

It isn't just called labor for no reason

I don't think anyone is going to tell you that labor feels wonderful. Some helpful clues that you are probably in labor are what the labor and delivery dept call the makeup test. If you have time and feel good enough to put your makeup on b4 you go to the doctor, then you are probably not in labor. I was also told by the labor and delivery dept that "Nobody comes in here smiling." Every time I think I am in labor (which has happened about 5 times with my 2nd child) I just remember what labor and delivery dept told me. All silliness aside though, a contraction started off like a strong menstrual cramp, then towards the end (which is the actual labor part) felt like when you have diarrhea and you can't stop squeezing. Sounds gross, but I'm sure many would agree.

oh boy

Well I'm only 22 weeks pregnant with my 1st child. No type of contractions yet. But I must say that I'm terribly nervous! I heard so many super crazy labor stories. I don't know what to expect. My sister said that both of her labors only lasted 3 hours and the pain was terrible but bearible. I'm still scared though. But I'll just have to wait and see...
—Guest K Michelle


I am 33 weeks pregnant with my third child. My first I was able to experience 15 hours of contractions, my water broke while I was in the hospital, and I was given epidural after 4 hours of contractions. The 15 hour labor ended in a C-section, I believe because the doctor was lazy and wasn't patient with my body. My second child was a scheduled C-section due to the previous one. This pregnancy, I found a doctor who is willing to try to let me have the baby normal. If God willing, I can have this baby natural, with pain meds of course and hopefully it will not last so long. Wish me luck.
—Guest Pink


Basically it hurts like a B!tch! But with getting through all the pain makes it all worth while to be able to accomplish such a goal & the reward of seeing the beauty you've created makes it THAT much more worth it!
—Guest mane

Labor does hurt

It's different with my first I had back labor contractions and I have to say it felt like my back was breaking and I am 36 weeks with my second daughter I have some back pains some days its worse than others but my contractions I am feeling now is my belly gets really tight and sometimes I loose my breath I guess that's what a normal braxton hicks feels like I am very scared to have my second child I don't want 11 1/2 hours of labor I do have to say my epidural did not work but her coming out was the easiest it was a relief she was a 6lb 11oz healthy baby I delivered with preeclamscia that I did not know I had I just pray we don't have that problem this time around so in all said every pregnancy is different because this time around I hurt a lot more than my first.
—Guest nikki

Not that bad-stop scaring future Moms!!

I had manageable pain with my son, he came relatively quickly considering the complications-if I'd had medications it would have slowed his breathing down too much and he may not have made it. 9lbs, 8oz. He could have died. SO thankful that I went natural. Then with my daughter I had only enough time to get into my hospital gown before she was in my arms. Labor is not as bad as some women make it out to be! It is pain WITH A PURPOSE!! The reason you feel the pain is because your body is doing its job!!! And the pain is only TEMPORARY-nearly the moment my babies were placed in my arms I'd already forgotten any of the pain (Including the sutures!!) No good doctor is going to let you get into serious trouble-if you don't 100% trust your doctor this way, then find another doctor. Do what makes you feel best about getting your baby into this world safe and sound. I'm very excited still, third time around. Baby #3 is due in a few months - anxious to see how this labor goes. Good luck Moms!!
—Guest MP

3rd pregnancy

This is my 3rd preg. each pregnancy I've experienced pre-term labor starting earlier each time. With my first pregnancy I was so used to regular painful contractions I didn't realize I was in labor until my water broke... we headed to the hospital and I gave birth 45 min later... My second I didn't realize I was having any type of labor cause all I had was a low back ache...once again I didn't end up going to the hospital until I realized my water was leaking and prob had for a couple of days went to the hospital and had to be induced ending labor after 12 hours. Now on my 3rd I'm 36 1/2 wks having contractions every 2 min with contractions getting stronger to the point of not being able to breath....although when I've been checked my cervix has only soften. I fear I won't be going to hospital again until my water breaks again... problem being I live 1 1/2 hrs from our hospital.
—Guest Mrs. Dunaway

Labor Pain

I went natural birth with my first, who turned out to be 9.2 lbs. My labor was unbearably excruciating, due in part to the L&D staff not realizing that he was turned the wrong way in the birth canal (Left Occiputo Posterior presentation). My transition lasted nearly two hours because of this before someone had the presence of mind to get a triage nurse who made the determination of the position and fixed it. (They were about to give me an emergency C Section). Nothing...no other mom, no Lamaze class, no books or video could have prepared me for the level of pain (and I have a very high tolerance to pain). I remember holding on to the side of the bed and during a contraction, my body and the entire bed shook. My husband later told me I was passing out in between contractions. Needless to say, I had pain meds with my 2nd child...and slept through transition! It was a breeze that time!
—Guest Peachy

Bone-Crushing Pain

I am 25 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child. Very worried about labor since it was a very painful experience the first time around. It felt like my bones were being crushed slowly--starting from the back of my pelvis and wrapping around to the front. This was WITH medication, although I do not believe the epidural worked very well.
—Guest Michelle

Waiting forever

I'm 38 weeks and counting and still find myself asking when will I be ready.
—Guest Karina

Hope to get things started without help

I'm 38 weeks with my third and I'm debating whether labor has actually started. I had to be induced with the other two because I was overdue. As a result I have no idea what to expect if I go I to labor on my own. These are more painful than BH but they are irregular. They feel like bad diarrhea cramps and I get short of breath. Sometimes they're accompanied by back pain and sometimes not. So I'm just busy trying to relax, taking showers, walking and keeping busy. These contractions started yesterday afternoon and I slept through them last night, so they're not THAT bad yet. I'm just waiting to see if this is real or not.
—Guest Heather

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