How Do I Know If I'm Having Contractions?

Pregnancy is one of the best biological processes that nature bestowed to humans. It is the process through which the human generation is kept on the planet. But what does every pregnant woman feel as they count down the number of days and months? Generally, nine months is a very long time to wait. After this time elapses, every pregnant woman hopes that a twist or a twitch is a sign of contraction. This is because contractions are as result of the body pushing down the fetus through the birth canal. The biggest challenge lies to those who are having it for the first time because they do not know if this is labor for real. They wonder if they should be near or in a hospital as soon as possible.

What Do Contractions Feel Like During Pregnancy and Labor?

To fully understand how contractions feel, it is prudent that you understand the different types of contractions that you can experience. They are different based on the time they happen, where the effect is felt and what causes the contractions.

1. Braxton Hicks Contractions

This contraction is mostly the first one that you can feel. They are often described as a warm-up because they are the initial ones. In most cases, they occur either during the second or the third trimester of pregnancy. They occur as a result of the contractions of the abdominal muscles. The contractions are mainly caused by a physical exercise that you may have engaged your self in. If you have not experienced this form of contractions, you need not to worry because they don’t happen to all women. It is also worth mentioning that they do not hurt and in the event that they do, the pain will mostly be felt in the abdomen. Generally, the Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular in nature because they come and go with time. A change in position can make the contractions to fade.

2. Early Labor Contractions

Unlike the Braxton Hicks contractions, the early labor contractions are steady with time. These are the contractions that symbolizes the baby is almost coming. Not every woman will feel the contractions and then see the baby come distinctively; there are those who will not be able to feel the distinction at all. Unlike the previous contractions, even if you change position or give it time, this type will not fade. They are a sign of you going into labor. You will feel that the abdominal muscles have tightened. You will also feel some pain or rather you may be uncomfortable. This is because these contractions have an effect on the cervix. If you are wondering when you should see a doctor or when you should be at the hospital, you should ensure the contractions are occurring after every 5 or 10 minutes. There are occasions that these early labor contractions do come and go.

3. Transitional Labor Contractions

This is the ultimate feeling that the baby is very close. The pain intensifies unlike the previous contractions. This pain has been described or related to either the painful experience of hitting your finger with a heavy object or even the pain of having menstrual cramps that hurt a lot. This should be the perfect time for you to have someone deliver your baby. If you don’t have any, you need to reach out to them as soon as possible. These labor contractions are more hurting than the previous contractions.

Some women describe the pain that begins in the lower back and moves in a wavy-like manner to the abdomen. The sequence of the pain begins from a mid-one and then it builds to its peak and fades. During the entire process, you feel like the abdomen is very rigid and the pain tends to stick in the lower back of the abdomen. It is also worth noting that these contractions could differ from one person to another. However, in most occasions, they occur between the periods of 60 to 90 seconds. The frequency of occurrence falls between 15 to 20 minutes. This period reduces in time as you draw close to being in labor.

If you would like to know more on how to tell the contractions, then watch the video below:

What to Do When I’m Having Contractions

As you draw close to having your baby, the contractions above will be prominent. The only way that you can tell if you are having labor is if the examiner examines your cervix. Thus, if you have the contractions and you visit the hospital only to discover it is a false one, you need not to feel bad.

The best thing to do when you are having the contractions is to write them down. Show how strong they are and how long they take. You can even do some exercise such as walking or changing positions and take a note if the contractions stop.

When to See a Doctor

You need to see a doctor immediately if you are having very painful contractions. If the contractions worry or trouble you as well, you need to see a health care specialist. It is also recommended that you report to a doctor if you think you are experiencing preterm labor.

You also need to see a doctor immediately if you notice the following:

  • You experience the contractions after every 5 to 10 minutes
  • Your water breaks releasing dark or green fluid
  • Bleeding in the vagina
  • cannot walk because of the contractions
  • worried of your health and the baby’s
  • the umbilical cord slipping into the cervix
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