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Readers Respond: What do contractions feel like?

Responses: 164

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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.

some one have answers for me ???

I have five and one on the way having the baby don't hurt it is the contractions that hurts it is the worse but when your at a nine it is easy will for me is was but with this baby. I am 34 weeks pregnant and the baby has not flipped and I'm having braxton hicks I hope he flips soon because this is my last one and I don't won't a c section. I rather give birth.
—Guest my sixth baby

My Delivery

My contractions were more like menstrual cramps the first 16 hours. A bit painful, but more annoying than anything and it seemed I was going to be able to deliver completely natural, including no pain killers. I could manage the harder ones easily with a little breathing, maybe some gentle rocking, and rubbing a warm hand in rhythm with my breathing down my lower spine. But after 18 hours, they started to get too intense for me to be able to focus on when my body was ready to push and I had no choice but to get an epidural. Those contractions were more of a slicing pain like when you misjudge your knife while preparing supper, and they covered my entire stomach, I became nauseated, I shook horribly during each contraction, I wasn't even able to cry because it was so overwhelming, and I was very tired when the medicine kicked. After a rest, I got my second wind and after 24 hours with 30 minutes of pushing, my son arrived, all purple, slimy, and cute.
—Guest Ashe

More Intense than Painful

Contractions felt a lot like severe menstrual cramps. Yes, it hurts. But the pain was really not as bad as I had feared. Labor is a LOT of hard work, and it is exhausting. Mine lasted 26 hours, and at 20 hours I asked for an epidural because I just needed a rest. The contractions are unbelievably intense. The intensity is harder to handle than the pain. They made me shake like a leaf, and I threw up with every contraction for hours before they told me that I could have anti-nausea meds. If you need them, know that they exist!!! The antinausea medication made a huge difference for me. But most women I know don't throw up more than once or twice. I just got "lucky." First-time moms, don't be scared off by this. I am pregnant and I'm going to try for a natural birth this time. I couldn't be more excited about it! Giving birth is the single most amazing and empowering thing I've ever done. It's not easy, but it is so totally worth the challenge.
—Guest KateC

Pre-labor to delivery

The first stage of contractions were bearable, very similar to having BAD stomach cramps on your time or after eating tons of ice cream. I was able to walk through these. The second stage for me, I had to lay down as the pain immobilized me. Breathing through and having a strong focus helps. Before pushing and pushing was the hardest for me. At this point, I was completely out of energy until the midwife helped me get back into focus. Then I gained the energy boast, breathed and pushed. The "Ring Of Fire" hurts like heck, but I remembered it wasn't going to last forever. After that, the joy of hearing the baby cry makes everything melt away. (Screaming, swearing and being completely out of hand doesn't help at all..makes things worse and makes you look crazy)
—Guest Brenda22

First time...

I have a high pain tolerance, I was extremely young when I had my first & I was fine, I didnt spaz out or cry & I was born with a hip dysplasia. I couldnt deliver vaginally & I was given an emergency c-section so I got my epi at the very last second so I wasnt fortunate to not feel anything the entire time. Its really not that bad, just really bad constipation cramps its nothing no woman cant handle!
—Guest Sara F. Bby

39 weeks

I am now 30 weeks into my pregnancy and today I felt a slight hardness inside my stomach, like as if I did 100 sit up and the pain of it burning or if I just ate alot and after that running. the feel of it burning on front of my stomach, instead of my side. I believe that was my first contraction. Plus, I been having pelvic crampings only at night. So I don't know I am probably going to be in labor soon, I am so excited, but not excited for the contraction pains haahah. I hope everyone goes through there labor fine as well.
—Guest Tash

I hope it doesn't feel that way again

I went into labor at 38 weeks with my identical twin girls. I'm not trying to scare anyone that's preggers with multiples but the contractions were the worst pain I've felt in my life! I thought they were never going to give me an epidural. By the time they tried I was to far along and I only got some kind of pain shot. It wore off by the time the second girl came 6 mins later and I felt everything. I hope it's not like this with every natural twin birth. I feel sorry for women who are going to have twins naturally, because my pain was unbearable, but I made it threw and the girls are healthy 4 year olds. I'm now 6wks pregnant and I'm pretty sure it's just one because I can barely tell I'm pregnant I just hope the labor isn't the same again! Sorry I'm such a wimp.
—Guest Twinsrfun

I can't take it!!!!

Hello everyone! I am 38 wks pregnant with my second child and I must say it's totally diff from my first. When I was pregnant with my son I didn't fine out until almost 6 mths later. I had no complications during my pregnancy. It's totally diff now with my daughter. I found out at 6 wks my body just felt weird and I stayed feeling nausea. Well my complications started early. I always have lower back pains, I experience a lot of BH, and I always get this sharp pain in my pelvic area, it feels as if it will crack so when I walk it' s with a limp of course. My doctor told me I am dilated 3cm and every since then I been having real bad BH. It's kinda hard for me to tell the diff between the real and the BH. All I know is I can't take the pain. It feel as though I have been pregnant for ever and I just can't wait for it to be over with. But as soon as I hold my baby girl in my arms, I know it will be all worth the pain. To all you moms to be good luck and congratulations.
—Guest Khandis

It depends on the person

Just like two different people have two reactions to stubbing their toes two different people will have different reactions to labour pain. I didn't take any drugs mainly because everyone I knew who did was in labour for 18-48 hours. And research suggests all the drugs can slow labour. And a few drug horror stories to boot. The pain honestly made me think I didn't know this much pain was possible. It's almost like when you get a really big hurt but it was a instant thing so it starts to feel better well in labour it just stays around the end so seems worse then if it happened then went away. I didn't even feel my contractions till 5cm. And that was cause he broke my water and then everything went so fast. It depends on if you can find a good way to manage as well (if you don't take drugs). I found out I don't like being touched when in pain so snapped at my hubby to not touch me and I stood in a doorway tapping one foot on the floor while holding onto the door frame. Worked wonders.
—Guest Michelle

We all share the common basics, BUT...

Everyone will have their own story to tell!! But it is so true that whatever your pain level, you forget all about the pain as soon as you hold your baby(s)!!! My advise to all the YOUNG Mom's 2 be that are having their first child, communicate and ask your Physician if you are unsure about something and tell your Doc Everything you are experiencing!!! It's always is better to be save then sorry!!!!! :-)
—Guest Mema2Be (G-MA)

It will be fine

I'm 37 weeks and I don't think I experience braxton hicks, but with my son I knew I was in labor. I went 5 days over my due date and 1day away from getting induced but thank God he came on his own. I'm 21 and didn't have no medication,my tolerance with pain is 0 but I did it and I'm hoping this baby will be the same because every pregnancy is different.
—Guest mrs.mccoy

Everyone is different

For me they were intensly painful after 7cm for my first. I had such a bad delivery I went for a c section the second time. But I know people who thought it wasn't bad. I wouldnt say they had low pain tolerance, just that it wasn't bad for them. Listen to your body and not what anyone else tells you. If the pain is intolerable get the help you need. The epidural helped me a lot at the 20th hour. The needle was easy and the lasting pain relief allowed me to focus again.
—Guest Mom of 2

Should have reworded your sentences

You wrote that most moms don't fully understand why they had complications with their epidurals!? My horror story is I had a reaction to one, they gave me too much. My whole body went numb, and I couldn't even push. I was in soo much pain from all the medication. Your words just pissed me off. And, no I'm not a bashing pregnant woman.
—Guest Kristina

Not so bad

My pregnancy was perfectly fine the whole 9 months. But then one night out of the blue... I woke up at 3:00 a.m. And it was the most painful and weird feeling I had ever had in my life. On one hand, I wished I had never gotten pregnant and just wanted to get it over with and out of my body. But on the other hand, I realized what a miracle it was that God had blessed me with a baby girl growing inside of my body. Labor was horrible. But the worst part was pushing for 45 minutes. At last, I gave birth to my precious baby girl Alyssa! It was worth it. And it's true- you forget all about the pain after it's over. I literally said, "I'm hungry! Where's my sandwich? I wanna go home and play with Alyssa now. When can I get out of this hospital bed?!" Pain is a small price to pay for a child. Trust me- IT'S WORTH IT!!! :D
—Guest Ashley

Be prepared

You will know when you are in true labor. It hurts like hell!!!!! Don't let people tell you any different. The first time around people were telling me it didn't hurt too bad. Yeah right they must have had an epidural.
—Guest Alicia

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