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What do contractions feel like?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I had back labor last time and I won't describe here what that felt like. However, the result was that I don't think I felt any normal contractions - just grinding against my spine. 

 

It just dawned on me that I actually don't know if I would recognize when labor starts this time if the sensation is different now that my baby is anterior. Like, I'm having some low-down belly pain and I'm wondering, 'is that what people mean when they talk about more painful BH contractions?' (I'm only 35w4d so I'm also not willing to accept that this would be a contraction :) I recognize the kinds of BH I've had before - just a general tightening over my belly that makes me waddle. 

 

So what do non-back labor contractions feel like?

post #2 of 5

It is quite possible that you are having BH. I started having some around 30ish weeks and some pretty painful ones at that. For me they not only feel like a tightening of my belly but like a menstrual cramp X10. Sometimes enough to almost knock the wind out of me. I really didn't have back labor with my first until near the end.  Honestly, I was afraid I wouldn't remember what one feels like, but once I had one I was like, "ahh, that's right.... how could I forget that!" It is hard to explain though. My SIL, who is due 8 days after me, always asks what they feel like and I try to explain but just assure her that she will know when she has one! lol The mild ones I don't notice all the time though. I just remind myself that they are good and just prepping things for the big day. i don't know if this is helpful at all or not!! 

post #3 of 5
It's been 5.5 years for me and I think I've forgotten. :P

I've had some ouchy crampy period cramp feelings off and on over the past few weeks but it usually coincides with an overful bladder.

So, I'm in that "was that a contraction?" frame of mind again. I remember last time finally feeling my first labor ctx with my son. (The night of the democratic national convention in 2008) and going "Oh! So THAT's what they feel like!" And I remembered it being unmistakable...and yet...here I am!
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelaRRRR View Post

It's been 5.5 years for me and I think I've forgotten. :P

I've had some ouchy crampy period cramp feelings off and on over the past few weeks but it usually coincides with an overful bladder.

So, I'm in that "was that a contraction?" frame of mind again. I remember last time finally feeling my first labor ctx with my son. (The night of the democratic national convention in 2008) and going "Oh! So THAT's what they feel like!" And I remembered it being unmistakable...and yet...here I am!


It's only been almost 3 yrs, and I feel the same way... I also get prodromal labor, and that has been very convincing to me.  What you describe at the end, that first real contraction, I felt that same way with my daughter- I was like, "oh, yeah.  THAT's real."  There's just no way to describe nor remember the subtle difference for me.

post #5 of 5

Early labor for me was, dare I say, painless. Like BH but coming regularly every 10 minutes or so, I would watch my belly tighten up and then relax.... truly without feeling a thing. And if my water hadn't already broken, would I even have noticed them? It was kind of surreal. I went for a walk, made dinner, had a shower, went to bed and fell asleep. Thank goodness we had filled the birthing pool and covered it with insulating blankets just in case.

 

I woke up a couple hours after going to bed, literally rolled straight out of bed and onto my hands and knees on the floor... OH! That one I could feel! But I'm not sure how I would describe it, other than taking my breath away. I didn't want to keep feeling that either, and immediately got into the pool. In the water it was so much easier... like strong menstrual cramps, with peaks. What surprised me, actually, was how the tightening feeling never let go - I had expected to feel it stop, to be able to relax in between contractions. But it never quite went away, even between the surges.

 

I stayed in the pool until my daughter was born because I couldn't handle the contractions outside the water. My husband tried to get me to get out and walk for a bit after a couple hours, and I tried to stand up and immediately had a contraction and went straight back in... at one point I needed to pee and thought I could get to the toilet between contractions, but no, again, as soon as I stood up and my belly was out of the water, I had a contraction and it was overwhelming (he brought me a bowl to pee in squatting in the pool...). Without the water, I don't know how I could have managed it or even begin to explain what it felt like; it was an indescribably strong sensation. In the water I was able to identify the elements of tightening, tension, opening, cramping, etc., to explore them and open into them. (Until near the end, lol, then I just bit a towel and roared!)

 

There seems to be a common theme going on in these responses: You will know a "real" contraction when it comes! And yet, I also am watching and feeling the tightening in my belly and wondering these days.... I don't remember it feeling like this... was that the baby pushing out or my uterus contracting in? Crampy BH or the beginnings of labor?? I wish I knew... I know I will know when the time comes, I just want to see it coming! (Don't we all?!)

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