So, what does labor feel like? Here is a handy guide on how your contractions will feel during each stage of labor and how to spot when it starts.
If you are anything like me you will be have been thinking about what giving birth will feel like since you found out you are pregnant. Well look no further, I’m going to take you through each stage of childbirth so you know exactly how labor is going to feel.
Before we talk about labor pains it is important that you know the difference between false labor and the real thing.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are false labor pains and are a tightening of the uterus that last less than a minute.
They usually can’t be felt until the second trimester but Braxton Hicks are most common in the third trimester of pregnancy. They typically occur infrequently and will not usually show any kind of pattern. They are usually mild, they may be uncomfortable but not not painful with the discomfort increasing as you get closer to your due date.
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- Braxton Hicks are irregular and infrequent. They will usually only occur 1 or 2 times an hour. This will probably only happen a couple of times in any 1 day.
- They are generally shorter than labor contractions, lasting less than a minute.
- They tend to get better with exercise or if you change your position. Labor contractions will not do this.
- Braxton Hicks contractions tend not to get stronger as labor pains do.
So What Does Labor Feel Like?
Early labor, will usually last between 8 and 10 hours, towards the end your contractions will be approximately 5 minutes apart.
The Pushing Stage
Post Birth Pains
Of course contractions are not the only symptom of labor, so here are a few early warning signs to look out for.
Early Signs Of Labor
The Nesting Instinct – In the days leading up to labor you may find that you have more energy. You may feel an overwhelming urge to clean and tidy your home. You may feel the need to set up everything in the nursery, organise all of your baby items, and wash and fold all of the baby clothes.
Insomnia – In the days before labor you may find it difficult to sleep. As your body knows that labor is approaching this is just it’s way of making sure you are on alert.
Loose Joints – As labor approaches your joints will start to feel a lot less tight and much more relaxed as your pelvis begins to open up ready for baby arriving.
Pressure On The Pelvis – As labor approaches your baby will drop into your pelvis to get ready for birth. This will put a lot more pressure on to your pelvis, give you a heavy feeling, and make physical activity a lot more difficult.
Relief From Heartburn And Breathlessness – As the baby is now lower down the pressure will be taken off your upper digestive system which should reduce the symptoms of heartburn.
Your Nausea And Sickness May Return – If you have been lucky then morning sickness should be a distant memory by now, but it is common for nausea and vomiting to return as your labor begins.