What Does a Contraction Feel Like?

pregnant woman
What was THAT?!
Your due date is fast approaching and you've heard all this talk about contractions. "Don't call the doctor until your contractions are x minutes apart ... Don't go to the hospital until your contractions are x minutes apart." But you've never been pregnant before so how the heck do you know when you're having a contraction or when it's something else? You've got to know so you don't end up giving birth in some crazy place. Plus, you want to know how bad they hurt and whether you'll be able to take the pain. (You will! You will!)

So here's your handy dandy guide to what a contraction feels like (as told by moms who have been there, felt that).


Image via oksidor/Flickr

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kryst... krystel.justice

Trust me, when you feel a contraction, you will know. If you are not sure if it is a contraction, it's probably not.

vdr1983 vdr1983

I say a contraction feels like a menstrual cramp in the beginning. And as time passes they still feel like cramps but with alot more pressure. They can hurt!!!

nily nily

Well I dint had them with my DD 9 years ago but I did had them with my DS last year. To me they felt like REALLY BAD menstrual cramps that dint went away. I felt my belly wrinkle and each time it hurt more and more my guts. At 8cm I felt a burning sensation down there and all that and I ended up being a emergency c-section lol

Baile... Baileysmom511

For those who say they feel like menstrual cramps...I've never had a menstrual cramp like that in my life. It is a very intense tightening and releasing of your uterus. Hard to compare it to anything, just know they HURT!!

RanaA... RanaAurora

It felt like bad gas pain to me. 

krystel, that's so not true.  I didn't know that I was having contractions until I was TOLD I was.  Everyone's body is different.  I didn't ever feel ANY contractions until I was in transition with my SECOND child (both vaginal births, by the way).

libby261 libby261

When I went into active labor, my contractions were a minute apart and stayed that way.  I had back labor.  It felt like someone was stabing my back with an ice pick or hitting me with a baseball bat.  Thank god for epidurals.  Labor lasted 12 hrs.  I never want to go thru that again. Once was enough.

nonmember avatar Carly

despite what different women try to explain just know one thing mamas to be! THEY ARE AWFUL. but we were built to handle it (not that i did very well, i was a screamer to the annoyance of other women lol) i had back labor, it started at the lowest part of my spine, it felt like someone was grabbing it a squeezing with all there might, and the pain traveled to my belly, when it traveled it felt like 10x more painful menstration cramps. dont let this scare you though! you will be so preoccupied by it that the time will fly! and let me say, thank god for epidurals lol

sunan... sunangel803

I used to get really severe cramps with my period - at the worst of it I would get sweaty, shaky, and not be able to move because of the pain. When I went into labor, I didn't realize what I was having was contractions because all I felt was minor cramping. I went to L&D to get on a monitor, and sure enough I was having contractions!! When I came in, I was 4-5 cm dilated and had to be rushed for an emergency c-section because my son was a double footling breech. So when I found out I was having contractions, I remember thinking, "that's it?" but I'm sure it would've gotten a whole lot worse if I had stayed in labor :)

Jeannine Denning

After being in labor 28 hours with contractions at the rate of two every 3 minutes, I felt like my body was being torn apart.

bbowen84 bbowen84

My contractions felt like someone was grabbing and twisting my insides...imagine someone wringing out a washcloth, but violently! That kind of menstral cramp!! Omg it hurt! Also right before pushing with my second dd, I told the nurse I needed to use the restroom. She said, "you gotta booboo?" To which i replied yes. She said, " no you don't, that's the baby". And sure enough, three pushes later, she was out!

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