What do Contractions Feel Like?

We asked 100 mums on our Facebook Page to share their experience on  “What Do Contractions Feel Like”

Please be warned about this topic.   Don’t continue reading if you are nervous and pregnant.  Only continue reading if you are ready to see the uncensored answers from real kiwi mums.

Contractions in Labour
Contractions in Labour  (photo credit Bloom Birth Photography NZ

 Mums share what contractions felt like for them.

Period cramps to start with. Very intense period cramps

Like someone is trying to rip all my internals organs out in one handful via my vagina

I felt my contractions all in my hips rather than my tummy. It felt like somebody was pulling my legs out of their sockets. Currently 3 days overdue with baby #2 so will be interesting to see how different it will be this time round

Just really long dull period pain my epi killed any bad ones early on

First time pure panic, scary, worse pain ever! Second time exciting, mind over matter win that battle.

To start with very intense sharp cramps, that gets more intense with added pressure. Very exhausting and draining.

My daughter was born posterior so I got a lot of back pain as well as the period like cramps (just much more intense)

Mine were all in my back, started with a dull backache and just got worse, don’t remember any pain in the front although there would of been, just back pain that got worse

Intense period pain. Felt in stomach with first and second on back and stomach. I highly recommend hot towels placed on area of contractions as soon as they start. This was all I needed for both 18 hour labours  🙂

Period pain – on a bad day! Or the stitch in my stomach. But mainly back ache

Like had bad period pain but in my low back not in my tummy

Like my vagina was feeling the fire of a thousand suns

Intense stomach cramps that I couldn’t get rid of and last baby the most agonizing hip pain I screamed more over than pain than a stuck baby shoulder

Like my inside where being pulled out of my vagina hole by a giant

All in the front, tummy would go rock hard with intense period like pain. Had irregular ones for about 4 days (every 15-20mins) then got crazy intense really fast and had baby in 4 hours.
Someone pushing on those two dimples on your lower back helped ALOT.

I was induced and the pictocin hit me all at once resulting in contractions that lasted 10 minutes. Hoping for a smoother delivery with number 2 in a few weeks

The worse period pain x 1000. I had one birth with drugs and one without. TAKE the drugs!

Like my whole core was going into a complete crappy spasm and I had no control over anything…

Like my lower back was breaking, then like my ass was falling out when I pushed

Dying. They feel like death I’m sure. I have never been stabbed to death but I’m almost certain that’s what contractions feel like. Been stabbed repeatedly in the butthole, vagina and stomach area. It’s horrible and I’m crazy enough to do it all over again in a few more weeks

Like when you get a cramp in your calf- except in your back. And you can feel it coming like a wave and it gets really tight and sore.

Contractions felt like pressure radiating from my lower back, around my sides and up over the top of my belly. I tried to stay relaxed and keep moving which helped take my focus elsewhere. Hot water on the small of my back was a great relief. I’ve had worse period pain than labour was – it just went for a long time and was tiring.

I had contractions in my thighs, lower tummy and lower back. It felt like a muscle spasm made of hot electricity that intensified to the point you felt like you would lose it and then would dial back down.

Tightening under my bump which spread up until my whole tummy was hard

Unimaginable! Even though I experienced it, I can’t imagine it now. I couldn’t believe something natural like childbirth could be hurting me this much. From the moment contractions started I was in excruciating pain. It only got worse. It felt like two large strong hands were wringing my insides and this went on for 22 hours before I had an emergency c-section. It was horrific.

Period pain that kept getting worse until everything aches. And then it’s all over and thanks for hormones, adrenaline (and possibly hospital drugs) you kind-of forget for a moment.

Both of mine were back labours, and it felt like something very heavy and hot pressing on my lower back. Thankfully mine were quick! However I have been in worse pain…toothache is worse!

An indescribable pain like nothing I have ever felt, and I have a high pain tolerance!

Starts off like period pain then yeah only gets a million times worse did ok until 6 cms then started crying

Extreme tightening over my tummy with simultaneous pressure down into my lady bits as well as burning contractions in my back that gradually got worse as labour progressed! When I got closer to pushing the burning sensation spread down my legs getting worse until I delivered! This happened with both my boys! Fun times!

Despite what I was told, it wasn’t like period pain at all! It was more like the most extreme lower ab crunch in the world. Agony! Luckily the experience fades from your memory pretty quickly – I think that’s the only reason the human race continues to propagate

White hot pain, across my tummy and my whole tummy went rock solid! It’s so hard to describe and remember – I only did it 6 months ago but already it’s a vague memory!
Really bad thigh cramps, i felt nothing in my tummy area but my legs and back! Oh my god i still get them now with my periods. Just like 100 times less pain full.

The most intense pain that can’t even be explained into words.

MUCH more painful than hypnobirthing class led me to believe.

All three of my births felt different. Can’t really remember or describe them now, even thou my youngest is only six weeks. The worst part for me was the after pains with child two and three and the dreaded second night, feeding every half hour.

Like an elephant standing on my lower back, followed by what felt like shitting out a bowling ball that was on fire

The WORST pain you can think of, & when the pressure gets too much pushing the baby out is the best relief from it EVER. You would think that pushing would be worse but it’s more like your body knows it will FINALLY gives you relief.

Mine was the worst back ache ever. Didn’t feel a thing in my stomach at all just a really sore back

Intense back pain, I didn’t even feel my abdominal area contracting, I had to put my hands on my bump to feel them there. I couldn’t sit down or lay down the entire labour because of my back it was exhausting.

Right in the lower tummy like my stomach was ripping apart.

Like a watermelon trying to push out my asshole

Like I was being ripped apart.

I drove for two hours with my first labour, wasn’t that bad (although I wouldn’t do it again either)

Right before you feel the need to push its like intense bursts of cramp pains.  Cramp pain times a million

I heard someone say once it’s like being in a vice that’s crushing you and pulling you apart at the same time. Accurate for me!

Twisting of my lower ‘abs’

Period pains at the start to bad period pains to worse. But depends on each birth really, i was pushing a watermelon out of a straw for way too long before we did episiotomy, the baby evacuation is the best part

Like someone was ripping my spine out through my back.

I didn’t experience period pain which is what I was expecting to feel as that is what everyone told me to expect. It was nothing like that. It was more like being tazored from the insides … or like my baby had my uterus in a lock hold with her finger nails that got tighter and tighter.

Like being squeezed, crushed by the hulk and folded in half plus on-going back pain.

At first they were just intense cramps like I used to get from polycystic ovaries but as time went on active labour was like my pelvis being torn in both directions

Hell and a million times more painful than the most intense pain you could imagine

Just really intense period pains, anyone that has experienced vomiting painful period will be able to cope with contractions

Like the worst diarrhoea and period cramps times fifty bagillion

I had worsening, intense back pain for days when my contractions were like a pressure. The back pain was the worst though…

Like a tornado ripping through me. Hard to articulate the feeling though, and impossible to know what to expect before being in it.

Stabbing pains in my gut

I thought I had food poisoning. Similar stomach cramps…

It came in waves. Just like intense, uncontrollable tightening! The ring of fire was the worst bit. Did it three times and still want to go again so can’t be all that bad

My first I said after ‘ I feel like I should have died, but I didn’t ‘

Well I thought I was dying , then passed out .  The pain was like nothing I’d experienced- but totally worth it!!!!

It was tightening of my abdomen and stomach. It felt like my insides were crunching themselves up into a tiny ball and I couldn’t breathe.

To start with just mild cramps at regular intervals then got progressively stronger like someone squeezing me to try and pop me! It made me throw up a few times but wasn’t bad enough to need drugs so feel very lucky

With my first it was intense cramps coming in waves – pain increased then went away. I’d also pulled a muscle while throwing up in early labour. That was worse because that pain didn’t go away. Contractions I could handle because the came and went.

I was powerless watching my sister in-law going thru contractions. All I could do was rub her back & breathe thru them with her.

Like little period pains with my son, like my body was ripping apart with my daughter
I was on oxytocin for 7 hours, no pain relief and they just felt like I had eaten far too much and needed to pooh. Didn’t find them that bad. Hated my drip needle going in more painful.

Really painful lower pain, especially in my back for my son. Not too bad with my daughter- felt like cramps but not unbearable and labour was too quick. Didn’t make it to hospital in time as it wasn’t that painful and thought I had ages to go before she arrived. My husband had to deliver her at home with assistance from 111 operator whilst I was holding my phone on loudspeaker

Uncomfortable pressure, tightening. Similar to period cramps-I wouldn’t say they were painful. Loved the breaks in between, doesn’t last forever

Like I had someone cut me open in my lower abdomen with a knife nice and slowly every contraction. Ring of fire was the easy part! Contractions were near death experiences every single time (Drip Induced though!!)

1st wasn’t too bad and was 10cm but became excruciating because her face was pushed up against my pelvis and brow presentation = c-section. 2nd was elective c-section but she decided to come early was 7cm when got to hospital and had hardly felt a thing, just felt like slightly stronger Braxton hicks maybe then had the planned c-section

Being kicked in the lower spine over and over.

With my first who was back to back induction, i honestly thought there was a blade sticking out of the hospital bed, digging in to my spine (I got my OH to check!) – With the other two, i went into labour naturally and although painful, much easier to cope with

I had oxytocin. Felt like period pain on steroids. With my second I felt like I needed that pain to get to the point of pushing. Three pushes, done. I have a good pain tolerance though

Massive cramps if you have front labor or serve back ache if you have back labor

Big cramps in my tummy through my back, and it made me feel like I needed a big poo.

Server back pain and period cramps. The back was the worst it was like all the pain was in my lower back couldn’t get comfortable just had to keep moving around no break in-between…. just 5 hours of uncomfortable pain continuously.

Hell, Like 2 walls are closing in on you and you can’t escape

Like a giant 5 metre wide metal pole is being inserted through your cervix and rotated around in circles like a hula hoop

Really bad period pain

They started off as more intense period pain (I could handle) but then the pain in my thighs. I told my husband during labour that it felt like Edward scissor hands was cutting my thighs. Nothing I could do would move my pain. As well as vomiting through the whole labour

Like really intense period cramps, but also my butt hurt heaps and I felt like I needed to go for a poo. In fact I thought I had eaten something funny so was sitting on the toilet for a lot of contractions.

Felt nothing at all until baby was actually coming out then a few cramps. My mum was the same …cross fingers my daughter follows suit. My first was posterior, second was usual presentation.

Belly tightening & lower back pain in waves, pelvic pressure increasing over time.

Tightening, and the first 8 or 9 hours of contractions had me giggling. Yay for hypnobirthing! The last few hours were uncomfortable, but only actually painful maybe three times.

Only in my pubic bone – felt like it was going to snap in half! Didn’t have pain anywhere else – (not even mild period cramping-type pain, no back pain either).

Like period pain. If you are a chick that suffers from bad cramps etc…. feels the same but x10.  Had lower back pain with the first one, none with the second.