What did your pre-labour contractions feel like? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering what everyone's pre-labour contractions felt like?
I'd love to hear descriptions from mamas who've been there, done that.
I'm sure other first time mamas would appreciate it too!
Thanks in advance!

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#2 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 12:21 AM
 
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Don't remember details about sensation, just remember that my whole belly would turn hard. I think they were mostly pretty comfortable, though.

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#3 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 01:42 AM
 
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I'm 37+ weeks now and I've been having strong tightening of the muscles... sometimes low, sometimes the whole belly, but rarely all the way up to the top. Not painful at all, just feels like a muscle flexing. I can keep talking, walking, etc. through them and often don't notice it's happening until I touch my belly and notice how hard it is.

In my previous labors, I've known immediately when the real thing hits because the magnitude was about 100X stronger. There's no way I wouldn't have noticed them or could have talked through them, etc. But my labors were fast & furious.
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#4 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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I labor all day with mild contractions which feel like period cramps that come and go. Once labor got going I was in enough pain, still like period cramps but I was not able to watch TV even during the breaks. That is a good sign for me its the real thing. I hope this is a good description.
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#5 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 02:20 AM
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I honestly can't remember very well what it felt like before "the real thing" in my two previous labors - I must have had braxton hicks (my dds are 12 and 7 so it's been a while)

I do know that when I had my first I woke up one morning with menstrual-like cramps that continued throughout the day. I thought it would/could go on for a long time like that and didn't expect to be in labor that night. The contrax got stronger for sure but never really got "regular" time-wise and so I was confused and in denial that it was labor for a long time. My dd was born by 8 am the next morning - about 24 hours total from those first mild contrax.

With number two I had PROM, a slight leak. Had some contractions that stopped and then nothing at all for several days, so we "induced" with castor oil. Labor began with mild contractions for a few hours - I could still walk around and clean house, the castor oil made me have to stay close to the bathroom - then after a while strong contrax came on that literally dropped me to the floor. My second dd was born about 2 hours later.

This time I've been getting mild braxton-hicks that feel like a tightening of the uterus, and occasionally more uncomfortable period crampy-contractions. But they are really random and not so uncomfortable I have to stop what I'm doing... when and if they get more regular and stronger I will let my midwife know.

Don't know if that helps at all.
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#6 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 03:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the feedback ... sure sounds different for everyone.
I asked because starting today, I've had low, crampy, intense pains like a band across my belly, with hardening. Very different from the BH ... but then I've also had diarrhea for two days now, so I was wondering if it was related to that. But then this afternoon, the crampy waves came on and off, say about six times an hour for a couple of hours, then slowed to pretty much nothing.

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#7 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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I never really had BH contractions so for me it all started with period like cramps and the desperate need to go to the bathroom every time one hit.
The pain of the cramps felt like a mix between my period and really bad gas or impending diareahh, resulting in my need to head to the bathroom each time just in case. They were not super painfull and honestly could have slept though if it wasn't for the fear of pooping my pants.
They went on for 12+ hours before real labor kicked in.

Never really had a whole lot of warning but then again it was time for him to come out at 41 weeks 2 days.

Pernille, Married to : mom to my 2 littel boys :4/12/07 and : 8/24/09
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#8 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post
Thanks for the feedback ... sure sounds different for everyone.
I asked because starting today, I've had low, crampy, intense pains like a band across my belly, with hardening. Very different from the BH ... but then I've also had diarrhea for two days now, so I was wondering if it was related to that. But then this afternoon, the crampy waves came on and off, say about six times an hour for a couple of hours, then slowed to pretty much nothing.
The diarrhea can also be a prelabor symptom, actually.

Those sound like prelabor symptoms to me. The fact that they stopped doesn't mean anything; what separates prelabor from real labor is that it starts and stops and doesn't progress. Your body *is* doing some of the work of labor; even though the pains have stopped, you probably got some effacement/dilation/movement done, which is great.

I had two weeks of intermittent prelabor before my daughter was born. It felt like menstrual cramps, sometimes with clear tightening and sometimes not. I also had a lot of lower back pain. I tried to focus on the fact that something was being accomplished, and not on how frustrating it was not to be in real labor already.

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#9 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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My early contractions with #1 were barely felt at all. It was just a mild tightening that I could barely feel. I was heading to the hospital for PPROM at 29 weeks at the time. They put me on a monitor and then the nurse came in and said "Are you feeling that?" and I told her I was maybe feeling something. She said they were contractions. The monitor was picking them up pretty well, but I could barely feel them at all. Now after they stopped labor and then took me off drugs a few days later, my contractions started up feeling more like gas cramps... a bit of a sharp pain. But that labor only lasted 2.5 hours, so I think I just jumped into painful contractions without a warning!

My early contractions with #2 felt like AF cramps. They were pretty mild - didn't really hurt. Finally, I timed them, and hey, they were coming every 5 minutes! The intensity increased over the next few hours, but they never got that sharp pain that I'd had with #1. It was a very comfortable labor (5 hours total).

Mama to Tornado Boy (6/04), The Brute (11/06), and Mischief (05/09)... expecting in February '15
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#10 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 06:17 PM
 
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Mine occurred every two minutes and I didn't even know I was contracting. I told DH and my sister that my stomach was upset and that DS was moving a lot. Once I was hooked up to a monitor and the doctors told me when I was contracting, I realized that what I was feeling was tightening of my whole abdomen. That's the best way to describe. One of the on-call OB's said the further along in your pregnancy you are the more painful the contractions are. These tightening contractions were causing dilation, just like the painful ones that caused dilation at 38w when DS was born.

Erin
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#11 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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My Braxton Hicks make the whole belly go hard. I feel tightness at the top and cramping at the bottom. I'll even have them every 5 minutes until I lie down then they decrease in frequency and strength. (And since I have two young kids, that means I've had them every 5 minutes for well over an hour before!) The "real" contractions felt very similar but hurt a lot more - to the point that I was on all fours rocking through the contractions by the time I got to a mere 2cm. I realize that many women have real contractions that feel like my Braxton Hicks - so don't ignore them if changing position doesn't make them decrease. However, I had those painful BH starting at around 32 weeks this time and last. Last time, I wasn't dilated at all until after 40 weeks! No clue about the current moment, but I can tell you I wasn't dilated at all as of 34 weeks this time.
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#12 of 13 Old 01-26-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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I don't remember having any pre-labor stuff w/ my first. Woke at 12:30 in labor, regular waves, yadda, yadda.

My second child, I had pre-labor from early Friday morning until Sun. night when I really went into labor. Just felt like a tightening, IIRC. Wasn't painful really, although I was still practicing breathing through them, why not! I was still able to go about my business tho, for the most part. We even went out to breakfast on Sun. morning! It did get pretty intense Fri & Sat night when I nursed my older child to sleep. Each night I thought "this is it!"

For my 2nd labor, I didn't feel like it was anything major until right at the end. That was tough.

HTH,
Sus

Baby the babies while they're babies so they don't need babying for a lifetime.
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#13 of 13 Old 01-27-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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I feel my blood pressure go up. Usually it's a very slight sensation in my ears actually. If I check my belly then, it's hard as a rock. That's it.

My first pregnancy, I never knew when I was having BH. I woke up one morning with show and went straight into the real deal from there.

Vanessa - aspiring Traditional Foods momma of Graham & Margot
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