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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
everyone is telling me to watch out for labor pains and consistant contractions but im not sure what im even looking out for, ive had the feelings of menstral cramps, and ive had back pain with it..are these my false labor pains??
im not even sure what contractions feel like and im 32 weeks so im sure ive had them...if anyone what am i looking out for here?
im worried im going to go into labor and brush it off lol
i have the what to expect when expecting book but nothing tells you what it is that contractions feel like other then your uterus tightens.....idk just wondering if anyone has anything more specific

thank you all ahead of time anything would help ^_^
 

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for me, when it started it felt like menstural cramps... then i noticed they were consistant and getting progressively more intense... soon it felt similar to getting hit with a ball in the stomach... then like a giant long charlie horse.

when i went into labor, my doula suggested i take a warm shower and if the cotractions subsided it was false, if they remained, it was the real thing.

hth
 

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Those do sound like contractions. If you are able to time them and they are coming regularly, consider giving your midwife or OB call since you're only 32 weeks. If there is no pattern, you can try increasing your fluids and getting off your feet. If a warm bath is relaxing to you, that's something to try too.
 

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I have strong BH that take my breath away at times but labor contractions have always been very different and I've known from the first one every labor that "this" was it. I know it isn't so simple, but it is a tight, squeezing sensation that hurts for me.
 

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Since I haven't had actual labor yet, I can only tell you about "false" contractions.

You can, and likely will, get a bunch of them in these later weeks of pregnancy. I am told (and believe) this is a good thing. It's practice, and it gets the blood flowing to your uterus a little stronger. Kinda like you're having a little work out.

The two things I've been told to watch for are:

1) If you have more than 5 in an hour, start timing them.
2) If they go away when you change positions or walk- no worries.

Timing false ones is easy. They don't follow a pattern at all and they don't get stronger. If you get a pattern, and/or they get stronger it's time to call. Have your timing information available.

DON'T PANIC - Chances are, when you DO know they're real, you still have HOURS to go with labor and it wont be time to rush off to the hospital/birth center yet. Just get things read for leaving, or your home birth.

Anyway... I'll shut up and let more experianced Mamas tell you about REAL ones.
 

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A little OT, but instead of what to expect when you're expecting, I'd recommended The Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, and The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin
 

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i had strong BH contrax for many many weeks and then nearly a MONTH of pre-labour with strong breath-through-it contractions. They felt like a tightening/pulling and like the peak of a bad menstrual cramp.

Then i had real labour cramps.
They felt like... well, the tightening, but like when you get a really bad cramp in your calf or something, and you're desperate to make it stop, but afraid to move or do anything cus it might make it worse, and that would be unbearable. It's like that

A lot like a charlie horse, like a spasm or cramped muscle.

I had back labour too... i can't even describe that. Just sheer pain.

But really, i had a very long hard labour and i'd do it again in a heartbeat. It's hard work and it is painful but it's also intense in a beautiful way, it awakens you.
 

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Since you are still preterm: the contractions of preterm labor are often painless. If you are having 4 or more contractions per hour that do not go away with rest and hydration, call your care provider.

Every woman seems to experience labor a little differently. For me, both preterm and at term, the same menstrual-crampy sensation that accompanies a period is also present in active labor, though the last two times (which were at term) that sensation started within a day or two prior to active labor. Preterm, I also had the menstrual-crampy sensation during active labor, which began following my water breaking. (However, please note that even contractions which were not painful and not regular did cause me significant cervical changes, well prior to that.) For me, the contractions of active labor are pretty strong and painful and cannot be ignored - there's no missing it, in my case.

As for what a contraction feels like, the following is from my ob's preterm labor handout:

Quote:

Originally Posted by
Some Tips about Contractions
• When any muscle in your body contracts, it becomes tight or hard to the touch.
• When your uterus (which is a muscle) contracts, you will feel it tighten or harden.
• When the contraction stops, your uterus becomes soft.
• You can simulate a contraction by doing a partial sit-up or crunch. The tightening of the abdominal muscles over the uterus makes the uterus seem firmer when you touch it.
• Suddenly sitting up or lying down can cause the uterus to contract one time. This isolated contraction is no cause for alarm but can be a good way to learn what a contraction feels like.
• You may have more contractions after sex or after exercise. If these contractions decrease to 3 per hour or less with rest and fluids, they are no cause for alarm.
also from the preterm labor handout, just FYI:

Quote:

Originally Posted by
What are the Most Important Warning Signs of Preterm Labor?
• Contractions or a tightening or hardening feeling of the uterus occurring more than 3 times per hour (The contractions of early preterm labor are often painless)
• Vaginal bleeding- any amount
• Any sudden increase in vaginal discharge (over the normal, gradual increase in vaginal discharge in pregnancy)
What are the other Warning Signs of Preterm Labor? These are common symptoms that are frequently unrelated to preterm labor but that should alert you to watch more closely for the important signs above.
• Menstrual-like cramps
• Pelvic pressure or fullness in pelvic area, back or thighs
• Dull ache in the lower back
• Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
• A general feeling that something is "not quite right"
In another month you can forget about this preterm labor stuff. Good luck!
 

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I've never had pain in pre-labor ctx, just a noticable tightening of my abdomen. Sometimes my belly seems rock-hard for a moment and then relaxes again. Real labor ctx don't feel like menstrual cramps at all to me, more like the hardening I described above accompanied by some discomfort. It's really the timing that is a clue -- if they keep coming regularly or don't go away when you have a drink or rest, then you should go get checked.

In my case, even true labor ctx don't hurt unbearably (except when I was given pitocin during birth #1). It's more of an unusual and uncomfortable feeling than actual pain.
 

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Being 32 weeks doesn't mean you have necessarily had contractions; in fact, I'd think the opposite and would be surprised if you had.

I've had three kids and never noticed any Braxton Hicks. I assume some "practice contractions" of some sort could have occured - but they were never anything big enough to notice.

When you go into labor, you'll figure it out. No one gets through labor without noticing! I had really mellow, easy to handle labors (the Bradley classes had a LOT to do with that though) but I still easily - even the first time - knew it was labor.

Who is telling you to watch for labor? In my opinion, that is wasted time - 'cause you will know when labor comes along! If it is anywhere NEAR strong enough to make progress towards birth, you WILL notice! It isn't going to sneak past you!


Instead of watching a pot that isn't boiling (and isn't likely to for another two months), I'd:

*take Bradley classes
*read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg
*drink lots of water
*walk (well, not after drinking that water!)
*sit cross-legged/Indian style on the floor and hard chairs
*avoid recliners like the plague!!!! (they make it easy for baby to end up posterior - which you don't want)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
Being 32 weeks doesn't mean you have necessarily had contractions; in fact, I'd think the opposite and would be surprised if you had.

I've had three kids and never noticed any Braxton Hicks. I assume some "practice contractions" of some sort could have occured - but they were never anything big enough to notice.

When you go into labor, you'll figure it out. No one gets through labor without noticing! I had really mellow, easy to handle labors (the Bradley classes had a LOT to do with that though) but I still easily - even the first time - knew it was labor.

Who is telling you to watch for labor? In my opinion, that is wasted time - 'cause you will know when labor comes along! If it is anywhere NEAR strong enough to make progress towards birth, you WILL notice! It isn't going to sneak past you!


Instead of watching a pot that isn't boiling (and isn't likely to for another two months), I'd:

*take Bradley classes
*read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg
*drink lots of water
*walk (well, not after drinking that water!)
*sit cross-legged/Indian style on the floor and hard chairs
*avoid recliners like the plague!!!! (they make it easy for baby to end up posterior - which you don't want)
Bradley classes aren't going to make you have an easier labor. They help inform you about what normal labor is and ways to increase your chances of a natural birth. I took a Bradley class, and my labor was NOT easy to handle. It was 25 hours at home and 6 more in the hospital before I chose to have a c-section. Now, saying it wasn't easy is not the same as saying I didn't handle it well, because I did.... but I didn't have a "bradley birth." Does that mean I failed the class??? I don't think so. You simply can't control birth. Every woman is going to have the birth she needs to have regardless of which class she. You can influence your birth by learning various coping mechanisms and preparing your body, but you can't MAKE yourself have an "easy to handle labor." I think your labors were more due to how you, as an individual, labor; as opposed to which childbirth class you took.
 

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I said Bradley had a lot to do with how I handled my labors - and that is true. If someone is tense and fearful, labor (I'd venture to say all labors) are worse than if we are relaxed and calm. Bradley isn't a guarantee that our labors will go well, but I think it ups the odds dramatically - as we 1) know what to avoid to cause unnecessary issues, and 2) have coping plans that we've practiced. Labor is different for everyone, but Bradley made what happened during my labors much easier to handle.

I'm sorry you had a c-section. And no, I don't think that means you "failed the class". You used what was taught to help you better cope and know when it was time to try something different. When someone who has blindly trusted the medical establishment in our country has a c-section, I am sad that it was likely not necessary. When someone who has taken Bradley has a c-section, I think it was very likely necessary - as they have the information to know the difference.
 

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For me it felt like a wrapping around pressure that started at the bottom and moved up to the top of my uterus. It also caused my uterus to feel like it lifted forward. It built, peaked, and ebbed like an ocean wave.

If you have a new sensation that comes every X minutes and gets stronger, longer, and closer together, that's probably how a contraction feels for you.
 

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i had BH from about 20 weeks on with both my girls. also with both of them, the last 2 weeks were regular, breath through and timeable but always petered out. when they kicked over it felt like really strong menstrual cramps and sometimes like i had diarrea (sp). with my first dd the actual labor was less than 4 hours and didn't hurt too bad. i was actually shocked at how fast it went and how much it didn't hurt to be honest. with dd2 it was 9 hours and hurt in my back, but she was posterior throughout it all until the very end.

at 32 weeks, anything that keeps going for more than an hour or becomes regular, i'd definitely get ahold of your doctor/midwife. hth's! good luck!!
 

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I am going to just say that you will know when you are in labor. You just will. BH and contractions are a mile apart in sensations. I had BH from 31 weeks on if I walked too much. Yet, I still knew when it was real.

Never hurts to get checked though.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by purplemoon View Post
I am going to just say that you will know when you are in labor. You just will. BH and contractions are a mile apart in sensations. I had BH from 31 weeks on if I walked too much. Yet, I still knew when it was real.

Never hurts to get checked though.
:

I was unsure what to expect all throughout my pregnancy and every little cramp or BH got me wondering/worrying (and eventually hoping) that labor was starting. When real labor started I knew. I felt the first real contraction and thought "Oh, yeah, this is it"

I agree that you should get checked if you are concerned though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
^_^ thanks everyone! i know i sound kinda ocd and over worried its just all new to me and im trying to settle all my nerves (or as many as i can) and it helps just to hear some stories, i trust now that ill probley just know.. lol ill wait for something that really stands out before i get myself worked up, and ill try to trust my own feelings a little more, also ill remember to try to time it to make sure i really appreciate all the stories and advice! lol ill post after shes born and tell everyone wheather i had an ah-ha moment
 
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