‘What do labor contractions fell like?” This is possibly one of the most common queries that pregnant women have in their final trimester especially if they have never experienced labor contractions before.
Most women have probably experienced false contractions or what is referred to as Braxton Hicks contractions. However labor contractions are significantly different from the Braxton Hicks that a woman may have experienced.
Labor contractions or true labor refer to the intermittent tightening and relaxing of the uterus which in turn is the result of the release of oxytocin and prostaglandins hormones by the body. This results in the dilation of the cervix and allows the body to push the baby down the birth canal. The time and intensity of the labor contractions differ from one woman to another.
However most women describe labor contraction as cramping sensation which radiates from the lower back to the front. The dull pain in the lower back and the abdomen is accompanied by an increased pressure on the pelvic region. When you touch the stomach it is hard and tight.
This is because the contractions cause the uterus to tighten while allowing the cervix to dilate and relax. The motion in turn pushes the baby towards the birth canal. Pregnant women liken the sensation of labor contractions with a bad menstrual cramp accompanied by intense pressure on the back or severe constipation pains.
Unlike false contractions, labor contractions intensify with time irrespective of what you are doing whether sitting, standing or simply lying down. Along with the back and the abdomen the pain is also felt in the thighs, hips and the pelvic region.
Moreover the time between the contractions will gradually shorten. The contractions may be accompanied by symptoms like a mucus or bloody discharge, rupture of membranes or water breaking or an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Once you feel that the contractions have started you need to time it. This will help distinguish the labor contractions from the false labor. For timing the contractions, the duration of the beginning to end of one contraction along with the frequency have to be measured.
If the contractions are five minutes apart or less and last more than a minute or so then it is a good idea to go to the birth center as soon as possible. Labor may last for ten to eighteen hours in women who are having their baby for the first time