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Thread: what do contractions feel like?!

  1. #1
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    Default what do contractions feel like?!

    Ladies

    I am scared to death about the labour. My friend told me the contractions sort of feel like electricty running through your body...is this accurate? how does everyone else describe them? also, if you have an epidural does it kind of deaden or calm the contraction pains so you dont feel them as much? knowing will ease my mind...ive never been in alot of pain before.

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    Ive never had an epidural so I have no experience there, but yes, the contractions suck and even though I didnt have long or intense labours, I just had to push through the pain and think that there is an end to it and at the end, there is a baby. I found that reminding myself it wouldn't go on forever really helped.

    Have you considered getting a doula?

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    Everyone's birth story is different, everyone's pain tolerance is different and everyone's body reacts differently. Some people will tell you they just closed their eyes, went to a different place and let it happen with virtually no pain. Others are in agony.

    I was also scared to death. I had an epidural with the birth of my first son. It took a while to set in, but once it did I felt nothing from the waist down. It made the experience bearable and allowed me to actually enjoy having a baby. I tried to get an epidural for my second child, but he came too fast.
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    When labour started for me both times the contractions felt like strong period cramps. They progressed to an intense tightening in my belly. I had an epidural both times but had to wait an insanely long time to get them. The breathing techniques really help in the management of the pain. I remember being so scared of labour too, but it's over so quickly and will be a distant memory. There are so many things more difficult about having a baby than the labour part.

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    You can actually SEE the muscles tightening and contracting along your stomach and side - it's pretty cool.

    I found it pretty painful (worse than period cramps, better than a kidney stone), I had an epidural with my first and second (although it only worked on my left side for my second), for my third the doctor didn't even make it until after the birth it was so fast....

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    With my first I was excited and in a really good frame of mind. Contractions were just strong period cramps and. I could just close my eyes, count in increment of 10 (if u made it thru 10 seconds what's another 10, and 10 again ect until the contraction was over). I ended up with an epidural because I was exhausted, labour was way too long and there were complications. Once I got the epidural there was no pain, just pressure.
    With baby number two I was exhausted, worn out and not looking forward to labour. I was scared sh*t less because number 1 was quite traumatic and I was told to have a csec buy wanted to try to avoid it. Contractions were horrific, I couldn't focus and my epidural didn't work. Back labour sucked. The thing is it never got to be point of Omg I can't do this, regardless of how sucks it was, and even now I can't remember the pain, just that I was DONE with the whole labour thing.

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    They feel like strong period cramps, then they increase in length and frequency. During transition is when it gets the worst but it's also the shortest phase of labour. I think on average they say it lasts about 1 hour and then you move onto pushing which frankly was my favourite part. haha. We took birthing classes (Lamaze) when I was pregnant with DD and it was very helpful. I would recommend looking into good ones that aren't through the hospital if you're really scared. They do help you to feel prepared, at least they did for me. I didn't get an epidural because I'm allergic. I also didn't deliver in London so I'm not sure of the options here but Barrie had laughing gas, some kind of a pain medication that's a shot, epidural, tens machine, and whirlpools for pain management.

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    I was also scared to death of labour with my first. Everyone told me their horror stories and how awful it was. DH and I signed up for natural childbirth classes (kind of like hypnobirth style) and I found that learning about my body, the physiology of labour and birth and how the baby and you work together during everything made me feel 100 times better. It got me to the point of being able to process the idea of the event itself and not to focus so much on the pain. I also listened to affirmations, did prenatal yoga, and read positive natural childbirth stories.

    When I actually did go into labour it was surprising how fast the time went. It started out pretty mild with period like cramps. Contractions started with increasing in consistency (longer, stronger, closer together tends to be the pattern). They kind of wrap around your abdomen and tighten and yes you can see it happening b/c your belly is like a rock. I laboured at home for most of the time with my first and found that hanging out in my bath tub was where I was the most comfortable and could focus the best. I closed my eyes and breathed through them and needed everything to be calm, quiet, and I think we dimmed the lights at some point. When you are in it and you're doing it, things become less scary than you imagined. It's not easy, but there is an end point and it will also be when you meet your baby. All 3 births were different and I also wanted different things during labour (not wanting to be touched at all, wanting massage b/w contractions for another, etc). I loved the labour and birth process so much and felt that the education and information before going into it is so important that I recently completed doula training.
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    Hailey - April 2008
    Scarlett - April 2012
    Troy - July 2014
    *Currently enrolled in the Perinatal Support Practitioner program through Babies Naturally and looking to attend births as a student doula. Please message me for details!*

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    Strong period cramps sounds pretty accurate to me. I found they had a definite beginning, middle and end which made is easier to get into a rhythm. It's sort of like climbing a hill...I know that seems so vague but it is hard to explain until you've felt it. I can tell you it's nothing to be afraid of. Yes, it hurts, but it's not a pain like any other...it's a deep purposeful pain...you can feel the baby move with your body...It's incredible. The best advice I can give you is to remember your body, not your mind, is in control when you're in labour. Do whatever feels comfortable and natural to you at the time, and you won't know what that is until you get there. Good luck and have a great birth. I'm jealous, I LOVE birth..Pregnancy not so much, but birth is like a reward for 40 weeks of uncomfortableness. If you can do pregnancy you can handle birth.
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    Avery Grace born & passed Feb 4, 2007.

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    Menstrual cramps, that come rhythmicly... I've always had pretty bad ones. I didn't find labour/delivery to be all that bad.
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    With my oldest, my water broke at 40w5d. I never had a single contraction and they gave me the epidural so early that I didn't really feel them - of course there were downsides to having the epidural for over 12 hours, plus I had the OB that was on duty since it was a sunday and I met him while I was 10cm and spread eagle on the table, and the nurses were no help and didn't ask my advice and basically kept me drugged and it was a truly horrible experience, but there really wasn't any pain!!!

    My youngest, contractions started at 21 weeks. I had them about 1-3 times a week for 1-2 minutes. It was like my whole tummy got completely hard. No pain at all, just "funny" feeling, and would feel even "funnier" if I was trying to walk.
    They got more everything. At 37 weeks, I was having contractions every time I stood up. Tummy would go rock hard and be awkward. I was positive trying to walk the baby would just fall right out on the floor. But still not painful, but awkward/uncomfortable/weird like the dr had put a giant bloodpressure cuff all around my stomach including the top and on my cervix.

    Next, they started to go more tighter, to where the tightness would hurt - sort of like trying to wear socks on my giant huge swollen ankles felt by the end of the day, lol.

    Honestly, that sciatic pain during the first trimester (until I started squats/yoga/sleeping with a body pillow) hurt a heck of a lot more!!!

    At 41w6d, I woke up and timed my contractions, as I had daily for many weeks, and realized they were always exactly 8 minutes apart. Still no real pain, just uncomfortable squeezing. I had my bloody show (period started, lol) about 1pm. At 4pm, the hospital called to say they had a room for me (I was waiting to have my water broke to kickstart delivery, but was in labour the day I was to be induced, lol), so we went to the hospital. At this time I could no longer stand and had to stop everything for the minute. Then was fine afterward.


    At 5pm, I started to count through them and focus on counting with my fingers and my breathing. This is the first time I would truly say I felt them as painful. But then it felt fine afterwards. I was still up and walking and happy and things were great. I decided this wasn't bad at all and I could deal with this pain without epidural.
    By 9pm, I had back labour - horrible aches in my back that were excruciating during contractions and when I wasn't having a contractions. I ended up getting an epidural and it made the back pain almost completely go away. I could still feel contractions but they were back to sort of feeling like they did prior to labour. I was able to push him out. I could still feel the internal stitches (inside, not episiotomy outside due to large 10lbs baby), but it was weird rather than painful.
    Basically, tolerable pain started 5pm, horrible backpain and then epidural about 9pm, baby delivered before 1am. All-in-all, it would have been fine without back pain, but the epidural made it fine.

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