Forum home Pregnancy Labour & birth

What do contractions actually feel like??


Anyone who has had a baby, please can you tell me what a contraction actually feels like??!

I am obviously expecting them to be painful - but can't imagine what sort of pain it is?

Is it like a sharp pain - like bad backache? Like leg cramp? Like stubbing your toe?! Like twisting an ankle? Like burning yourself? I have heard some people say they are like period paind, I always had painful periods but found that pain was more of a constant nagging dull ache....?

Help please!! Any experiences of thoughts, however you can describe them, it would be so great to hear your experiences...

Thanks a lot xx


  • Hi

    The only way i can describe a contraction is when you have really bad period pain accompanied with backache but obviously on a much larger scale. All i can say is don't worry about them as at the time you will just go with whatever your body wants to do and remember your breathing and panting exercises as they really do help. Have you been to parentcraft classes as they are really informative and help you a lot with what to expect.

    Good luck! x x x
  • I struggled to get my head around this with my first baby too cos i've never had period pains in my life. How many weeks are you? Once you get Braxton Hicks you'll understand what they feel like, I felt them like a tightening, your bump goes really hard and they just squeeze and squeeze and feel really uncomfortable at first (before the pain starts!). It wasn't a sharp pain, just like cramp that kills!! I don't really understand the breathing thing tho, do you just take deep breaths through each one??
  • Hiya
    one thing you've got to remember is that contractions dont always stay in your bump, some people just get backache some people get pain in their thighs (I did) some get it in their bump some get pain between their legs and some get a combination of any of the above, but even if you just feel uncomfortable phone your midwife or the hospital and speak to some-one for advice coz thats what their there for!!
  • this is quite hard because everyone is different, my 1st was really heavy pressure in my back passage, 2nd was like really bad wind and constantly felt like i needed to poo, and pressure in front passage so couldnt standup pain eased when i sat down.image
  • Oh heck, i've been having these weird feelings for a couple of days and were really bad this morning, i convinced myself it was nothing cos i was induced with no1 and progressed to the bog standard cntractions straightaway so never felt anything else really. Bowels been a bit twitchy and I just feel he need to pace around as well, very odd.
  • Post withdrawn by MFM HQ at poster’s request

  • Yeah I think that's true. When they really start and you think back to the ones you thought were real you could just laugh at yourself!
  • i was induced with 1st so felt really stupid 2nd time, i didnt just know, it took 5 1/2 hrs of moaning about trying to fart before i phoned hospital by that time i was 7cm, felt like a twit. lol
  • I thought it was all crap about 'just knowing' but when it happened I did know. My contractions were like really really really bad back ache. I had braxton hicks loads before hand and expected it to be like that but i didnt have any pain in my tummy just in lower back. didnt go on to have full natural labour so guess they mite have changed. I had gas and air during early ish labour (and when they broke my waters) and it was amazing, def took edge off everything. Looking back at it all (it was only 3 weeks ago) i just think it was all amazing and i would do it all again. its def true about forgetting the pain. xx
  • hi there, mine started off as really faint period pains just below my bump ( just like I was due on) getting stronger as day went on and also ended up with simular pains in my lower back towards the end only noticed that horrible back pain.
  • mine started with backache,so i was waiting 4 it to spread round the front,but they didnt,dont get me wrong though they were painfull,but like everyone will tell u it is all worth it in the end.during the labour though i did feel like i was goin to poo,i had to keep askin if i had,i was so paranoid,its all i could think didnt help that i knew a girl that did all i can say is,try to relax and try to enjoy it.
  • I asked the same question when I was pregnant, but I still didn't understand what they were going to feel like... now I know!
    My contractions started at 6am in the morning, and they did feel exactly like period pains, or like when you are due to come on, but the pains come and go. One minute you have them, the next minute they are gone. They just get progressively worse and more frequent. Mine weren't overly painfull until I was about 7cm dilated and I had no back pain.

    I managed to stay in bed till 9am waking every 30 minutes when I had a contraction and by 3pm they were coming every 3 minutes... thats when I went to the hosp!! Enjoy labour and try to remember as much as you can. It is such an amazing experience, exhausting, but amazing. x
  • Bumping this to the top for Abbey
  • im getting really bad presure & pushin down underneath my bump where my knicker line is.

    and have had bad back ache too, had a show on sat. morning all stringy no blood, just like glue, been coming out evry morning little by little (nice subject i know).

    i havent really had any contractions, i know my mum said your belly goes really hard and your tummy feels tight !

    but i havent had that.

    i'm just wondering do you have to have contractions in your tummy, or can u feel a pushing pressure and back ache, has anyone else had this

    as this is my first baby so dont know what to expect

    w.b x carlie

  • After reading this thread I'm now confused! I've had a few braxton hicks but nothing major but since this morning I've had a painful lower back and a pressure down low that I've never had before. It's really uncomfy and painful and I just can't settle wither sittting or standing. Maybe this is the beginning??!! I'm due on Monday so it could be possible couldn't it?!
    It's hard when it's your first and you have no real idea on what to expect!
  • well i just dont know.

    i get the odd contraction on my tummy with a dull achin pain

    but feel really drained today!!

    feel as though somethings gonna happen 2nite

    so we will see
  • Mine were like really bad poo pains when you can't get off the loo and when they come you can't speak but try to breathe!
  • Thanks trackieann
  • Hello,
    I had bad backache for about a week on and off and kept thinking this is it!
    But in the end i had to get induced - they told me as it was my first that it propbably wouldn't work first time, so when i got back ache a couple of hours later i didn't realise it was early contractions!
    Then after a couple of hours i had cramp in my leg so bad i didn't want to walk or lie it was horrible(sorry)
    By the time i had proper contractions it was more like shazmyatt says above - i used a birthing pool for the pain and my leg cramp vanished if you can use one def do, when i got back out i could really feel the difference!
    If i'm making it sound bad don't listen to me cause i had a really good birth and can't wait for the chance to do it again!
    Good Luck
    Oh and i didn't realise that afterwards i might shake uncontrollably so i couldn't hold my lo - just the adrenaline!
  • they start a bit like period pains, all crampy & uncomfy in the general lower areas (bad, tummy, vag). But when they are proper contractions, they are vice like gripping pains (not sharp) & last a long time & sort of take you over (you can't speak & aren't aware of whats going on around you). its not like a pain you've experienced before (unless you've had a baby of course) xx
Sign In or Register to comment.

Featured Discussions