How contractions feel to you depends on a lot of different things. These things have an effect on how contractions feel:
- Your baby’s position.
- Strength of your labour.
- How you feel emotionally and physically.
- The environment wherein you give birth.
- The kind of support you have when you are in labour.
Every women’s birthing experience is special to her and different from that of others. Most women say that they feel contractions to be stronger as labour progresses. These contractions can be tiring and intense.
Some women say that the pain of contractions is not the same as normal pain. The normal pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. On the other hand, the pain of contractions means your body is doing the right thing. The body helps you cope with this by releasing endorphins, which can change your perception of pain.
Most women say that once your child comes into this world, you will forget the pain from those contractions as you hold your baby for the first time. The whole experience may give you a feeling of empowerment and a sense of achievement.
If you’re worried about contractions, talk to your gynaecologist. She can really help you ease the pain, perhaps by giving you a pain relief tablet. Also you should understand what an amazing job your body is doing when you’re having those contractions.
If you put a hand on your belly during contraction, you may feel your womb hardens as the muscle contracts. Each contraction may feel like a wave – it comes, reaches peak intensity, then fades away.
Contractions really vary depending on how far you are into your labour. Contractions early in the labour might feel like period pain. You may have backache or cramps, or both. Or you may just feel ache or a feeling of heaviness in the lower portion of your tummy, back, vagina, or labia.
For some women, contractions are painful and regular from the beginning itself. This occurs from the time the cervix starts to dilate (open). Other women go into labour without actually knowing it. Some women have a constant backache during labour and find it really hard to rest or to feel comfortable.
With the progress of your labour, your contractions are likely to be more powerful and frequent. You might feel a double peak in contractions – it comes, peaks at its intensity, startes to fade, then peaks again before fading away at last.
You’ll most probably feel these double-peak contractions when your cervix is fully dilated. This is called transition – it marks the end of the first stage and the beginning of the second stage.
Your baby will be born in the second stage, usually through a combination of the contractions and your pushing, which will help move your baby move down your vagina and ultimately come out.
During the second stage, you may feel an urge to bear down as you push your baby down. You need not worry if you feel the urge – your doctor will be able to help you out.
During the third stage, contractions will detach the placenta so that it can be pushed out. These contractions will not be as powerful as the contractions during labour. But you’ll still be able to feel them.