Motherhood brings a lot of anxiety to moms along with happiness. Thinking ahead of actual labor and all pregnancy related pain and stress are found to be the anxiety triggering causes. By entering the last weeks of pregnancy one of the frequent questions asked by doctors is what do contractions feel like? We decided to dig deeper for our readers to present a best possible answer for what do contractions feel like?
Defining contractions in simple terms
The stretching and relaxing of uterus muscles give rise to a single wave of contraction. The wave normally travels from top to downwards and inwards. By this mechanism, nature is actually preparing for cervix opening.
What do contractions feel like to different women?
Well, the answer to the question what do contractions feel like is pretty subjective. Women with lower pain tolerance complain time and again about painful contractions. However, some women manage it more efficiently and deal with the situation well. It is to be noted that contractions start at a lower pace and gradually speed up towards the end of pregnancy. Anne Richley a famous midwife says,” Every woman experience contractions differently, however normally it starts like the pain in a period characterized by lower abdominal pain and then becomes longer and stronger”. The basic purpose is to prepare the cervix for final delivery.
What do contractions feel like in false labor?
False labor or Braxton Hicks contractions start about the 4th month. Irregular contractions can be observed that subside on its own. These contractions are:
- Normally painless
- You might feel some tightness around your belly
- Pain occurring site is normally abdomen
- Irregular and less painful
- Pain usually subside by changing position, resting, and hydration
- Braxton Hicks don’t get longer, stronger and frequent.
What do contractions feel like in preterm labor?
You could fall in preterm labor if frequent contractions occur prior 37th week. Keep a check on contractions pattern. Having 5-6 contractions per hour with the same gap could possibly lead to pre-term labor. You may feel like:
- Dismal backache
- Pelvic pressure
- Abdominal pressure
If above-mentioned signs are coupled with diarrhea, bleeding or water leakage, it is most probably the time for baby arrival.
What do contractions feel like in early labor?
Contrary to Braxton Hicks actual labor contractions once started only subside after delivery. They pace up and get stronger, longer and frequent. Early labor contractions last for 30-90 seconds. Cervix ripening and effacement leads to losing of mucus plug and also bursting of the water bag. Initially, you may have a big interval between two contractions. But once your contractions progress one contraction should be only 5 minutes away from other contraction.
What do contractions feel like in active labor?
It is the peak time of contractions and its intensity is unbearable, unlike earlier discussed contractions. Before pushing out baby your cervix will dilate up to 10cm. You will feel contractions all around your body. Starting at back they wrap around your torso entering your abdomen. Contractions in this phase last for 45-60 sec, with an interval of 3-5 minutes in between. Just before pushing the time interval between 2 contractions to squeeze to 30 sec-2 minutes.
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Here is a video that illustrates a difference between Braxton hicks and contractions during labor.