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Readers Respond: What do contractions feel like?

Responses: 200


Updated March 19, 2009

Everyone describes contractions differently. Some say it's sharp pain, others say dull and crampy. Do contractions feel anything like Braxton Hicks Contractions from pregnancy? Being prepared for any kind of pain is difficult to do, but some readers help give you advice on what to expect from labor and delivery. Share Your Experience


Hi This was my first baby did not find out I was pregnant an till 21 weeks when I was in a little pain. I was told by family and friends that the contraction were going to be painful. My doc told me that because of my medical history that it was not going to easy to give birth natural. I was book in to have introduced labour. The day before I went in to hospital I went into labour while I was shopping. It felt to me just like gas bubble need to fart. Went to the loo that not right there blood went to the hospital was told you are in labour so that what the gas pain were. After that my gas pain came every 5 min from 4 pm in the afternoon till 5 am in the morning when the nurse broke my water.6 am still no baby doc came in an told me to lay on my side than every thing went wrong strate in for a cesecion baby fine. Was told later I was bleeding the all night and had a very low palate count I could have die. Now he a health 14 month old baby boy. With a brother on the way .
—Guest getawayqwert

I am 37 weeks almost full terms

I been have this pains going back n forth every 5 mintues then stop it then come on and off again how can I stop it from hurting the baby when I know I be in labor if it gonna really worst pain what can I do about it
—Guest Christina

im scaredddddd

I'm a first time mommy, I'm 28 weeks and I'm terrified. I don't want any kind of drugs. I'm aware that this will be alot of pain, and I don't know what to do. I've been freaking out about this for the past month or so, but only for the simple fact that some mothers do not make it through birth. I'm excited, but really scared.
—Guest ally cat

My experience...

When I had my son I was 40 wks and 1 day and in labor for 2 days. My contractions didnt hurt much, just felt like really bad menstrual cramps, they seemed to hurt worse at night but they were bearable. On the second day I decided it was time to go to the hospital because they were getting more intense. It felt like the pain ran down my spin and once it reached my lower back it would wrap around to my front. I was 5cm once I got to the hospital and 6cm when I got my epidural. Once I had that in I felt terrific and didnt feel a thing throughout the delivery. It took me 5 hrs from the moment I got my epidural and only 4 pushes till my son came out so I thought it went pretty fast. Im now 38 wks pregnant with my daughter now so im hoping this time around it will be as painless as my first.
—Guest Jacy

Every Pregnancy is Different!

I am currently 33 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. All of my pregnancies have had similarities and differences. My first pregnancy (a girl) was a breeze up until labor. I was induced at 38 weeks. At the time I still had a small teenagers body and the doc was worried that the baby had stopped growing and needed to be delivered while healthy. My labor was not easy. I was in labor over 24 hours. I had an epidural not once but twice. They missed on the first try and the second was effective only on the contractions, I felt everything else. Since I didn't feel the contractions I can not say how intense they were. I was in the hospital four days and did not realize it at the time but was hallucinating. Little girl weighed 6 lbs 3 oz. My second pregnancy (another girl) was a bit more rough. I had preterm labor three times and my water broke at 36 weeks. After the horror of my first labor I opted to not have an epidural this time. I was in labor 12 hours, had no major complications and ba
—Guest Misty

3rd C-section

As from what I know C-sections are much worse. Than natural birth, to bring your child into the world normal is the best, I had unplanned C-section 1st time around due to failed induction and boy oh boy I thought walking won't be a option for me anymre, I wanted natural with baby 2 but due to preeclampsia and failed labour had a another C-section so obvious baby 3 will be butchered out of me too! Stick to natural ladies God intended it that way its not hard at all if u can! Good luck mommies!
—Guest Bellabotman

Im dead scared

I can only describe contractions as a deep dull ache and about a 100 times more intense than a period pain. Its something that has to be experienced. No one can just imagine what its like without experiencing it and thats why I get mildly irritated that the men will never know what its like. They will see you at deaths door and back again and then will turn around and say 'it wasn't too bad last time'! Grrrrrr! I am 35 weeks pregnant with my 2nd. Had a bad first experience so very scared. Just want it over with now. Im so scared and I cant believe that ive gotta go through this again. Sorry if im making any mum to be out there scared too but im terrified. Cant even sleep :( Wish me luck
—Guest Very Scared

Think smart

If you went to the gym and really worked your body to it's limit the next day you may be in so much pain waiting for your muscles to calm down Well that's like labour . Now you don't question the pain from the gym so don't question labour pain just go with it .Think of your dear baby trying its best to get into your arms
—Guest Margaret Osgood

Birth -- The greatest gift

No two woman will give birth the same I have 5 children , 4 home births and fairly long labours but ask yourself if it was that bad woman would only go through it once . The key is to understand your body, listen to your midwife and RELAX
—Guest Margaret Osgood


The only way to describe them is like a pounding in the midsection that builds in intensity. They are predictable in that you can feel one coming on, but you don't know how painful each one will be- and just as soon as it comes, it will taper off again. Focus on the rhythm & getting through each one breathing and moving WITH your body however it wants to. You'll never NOT predict a really painful one because the one before will always be less-or equal to the most painful. Just when u think it cant get any worse, it'll be time to push! it's like: level 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3,3 (breathe) 3, 2, 2, 1, 1....-Stretch a/o walk-...Ten mins later: 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4... 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1... And maybe next one will be the same.... What u WANT is for them to get more intense & closer in time because that means labor is progessing & you're dilating and can push soon. Real ones aren't like BH where boom there's a contraction. No, real ones are rhythmic/predictable. I'm 34 wks today w/ #5. Breathe
—Guest Angel

Hurt :(

I am 39 weeks and actually in the hopistal right now . I was dilated at 4 and they admitted me and my dr will be here in the morning . This is my first child and I'm scared shitless . I've had contractions for about 2 days and tries to wait out because I was supposed to get induced tommorrow morning . I think I am freaking myself reading about labor pain online . The contractions I have so far have been very very painful but I have a low pain Tolorance . They are bearable but but very painful I can't talk during them . It feels like a rubberband pulling and squeezing in . I know they are gonna get a lot worse . I am hoping I fall asleep soon to get some relief . I just got some pain med it was a shot in the butt but it did help . It made them bearable but it's still very bad pain . The only thing that helps me is breathing and just thinking it only takes a min to get thorough it then I get some relief. But I'm sure ill feel worse :(
—Guest Ashley


being having light contraction since morning on my lower abdomen. Its not really painfull , guess its false labor, am in my 39th week though. Cant wait for the real labor to set in cos i cant wait to carry my baby.
—Guest amy


Iv been having period like pains for over a week now, I had a doctors apt yesterdat after the week of pains and back aching and I am in fact in pre term labour. Since I am only 32 weeks I am on bedrest hoping to give the baby more time to develope her lungs. However, heres my question! The doctor said to come in if they intensify, water breaks, mucas plug OR they get closer together. Since its not like an actual cramp and is more like a nawingconstant pain im having a hard time knowing how to time them? Could someone please help me with this?
—Guest chelsea

Dont panic

I am 40wks today with baby number 6 ! I have survived pregnancy and 5 births so far despite having a fear of being sick, somehow I manage to get through this while of. I had pethedine with my first and it made me feel awful so I had nothing with my other 4. I am only petite and my babies have varied in size my last was 8lb 13 and it did hurt but I made it through, I've been told this one should be around 6.5 so hoping he will be easier though he's given me a rough ride so far ! Knowing that the pain won't last forever and that at the end I get to meet my beautiful baby is what gets me through. There's no denying it hurts and is not my finest moment but wouldn't be having my 6th if it wasn't manageable. Good luck to all the expectant mums out there.
—Guest mummymo

painful but joyful

With my first pregnancy everything th at could go wrong went wrong. I got the epidural well it didn't work. They poked me four times in the back with that thing. All it done was put me in worse pain. It left a baseball size knot and bruise on my back. And I could taste the medicine in my mouth because they pumped me so full of it. Ended up throwing up and was in labor for 33 hrs. After having her she had used the bathroom in her sac and in my uterus. So we both had to have antibiotics. They ran a cord down her throath into her stomach to clean her out. They took the epidural out of my back and it was bent like a fish hook. It was suppose to be straight. Not to mention the blood loss I had. Well with baby number two I refused medicine and liked to never got through it. She was bigger than my first baby was. They sit me up put me sideways layed me down some etc. To get me to dilate 3 more cm to have her it wasn't happening just like it didn't with my first. They had to thin my cervix out
—Guest grace

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What do contractions feel like?

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