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What exactly do contractions feel like?

Everyone always says "Oh you'll know when your in labor and having contractions..."
Not true!
With my first DD 4 years ago I was past my due date so the Dr scheduled me to come in to be induced and when I got there they were like "Your already in labor and having contractions" and I was like umm I am? All I felt was my stomach getting hard like the baby was balling up. No pain or discomfort at all. I actually dont remember feeling pain until right before I got my epidural.
I'm only 35 weeks right now so I know I have a few more weeks til I have to worry about it but I'm afraid I wont know I'm in labor and get there too late and wont be able to get an epidural (I can't take pain very well and I AM getting an epi again) and the hospital is about 45 minutes away.
I know I shouldn't worry so much but since I didn't actually feel the cntractions til right before I got the epidural last time, I'm afraid I won't know :(

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 2:55 PM on Jan. 5, 2010 in Pregnancy

Answers (10)
  • With my pregnancies, my contractions felt like someone was pumping my stomache up with air. It never hurt me that much either.

    Answer by Rachel24517 at 2:59 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • For me, they felt like menstrual cramps magnified by 1,000. It was hard for me to breathe and made me very nauseous.

    Answer by NightPhoenix at 3:01 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • the closest thing to explain to me is like bowel movement cramps. like if you really need to go, but you are in the car and there isn't a place to stop. :)

    how do you know it will be so painful? it sounds like you have relatively pain free labors, so maybe you could have LESS pain without the epi because you wouldn't have the big needle, catheter, risk of headache, etc...?

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:09 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • mine burned really bad i wouldnt even say they were like menstrual cramps all i know is they hurt so bad after 6 hrs i almost killed the nurse for telling me to breath lol but hey if they dont hurt just remember if your stomach is tighting up off an on your in labor :)

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:10 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • I agree with NightPhoenix. That's what mine felt like. It was a familiar feeling.

    Answer by mompam at 3:10 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • mine felt like horrible menstral cramps.

    Answer by acjadams at 3:27 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • You already know what they feel like. Your description of the hardening of your stomach and the sensation like your baby is balling up is exactly what contractions feel like. I also think they feel like the baby is stretching way out across my belly. When I have contractions, it forces me to take deep breaths through my mouth because it feels like it puts a lot of pressure on my lungs.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 3:29 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • it feels different to different people. It could feel like stomach tightening or like cramps. If you deal well with pain (and it sounds like you're like me and you do) then you may just feel discomfort and not realize it is contractions. Put your fingertips on your stomach and FEEL for the tightening.

    Answer by SmileyMoo at 3:30 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • She balls up all the time right now so that's why I'm afraid I won't know bc like I said all I felt when they told me I was already in labor.
    I'm honestly not sure if I could do it without the epidural or not. Getting the epidural put in was the worst pain while I was in labor with my first and then after that it was all pressure down there and pushing her out was like a giant bowel movment.
    I watched my mom have my little sister when I was 16 and that was the only child she an epidural with and she said it was easier. She had pain meds with me, got there too late for anything with my little brother and my first little sister weighed 4lb 13oz and my mom had her natural and she wasnt very big so she said it didn't hurt. too bad..My mom handled pain better than me so I'm afraid to do it without the epidural.
    I'm kinda hoping my water will break at home so I'll defnitly know I need to go to the hospital lol

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:41 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

  • i'm anon :09 and i didn't have an epidural and the worst part of my birth experience was getting the IV put in. for me, i prefer the labor pains to all the other stuff they do to you along with epidural but that's just me. :)

    as long as your hospital isn't horribly far away, you should be fine. if it makes you feel better, read up on what to do in case you don't make it to the hospital. my pregnancy book has a section on what to do if your baby is delivered in the car or unexpectedly at home. i really like to prepare for that because my hospital is about 90 minutes away.


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:50 PM on Jan. 5, 2010

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