What Do Contractions Feel Like At 38 Weeks?

Braxton Hicks contractions.

You may have been having these for weeks now, or you may be just starting to notice what seems like 38 weeks pregnant cramps or tightening of your belly.

If your contractions aren’t painful, and go away when you switch positions, they’re still Braxton Hicks (a.k.a.

“practice” contractions).

How do contractions feel when they first start?

Labor contractions are the real deal. Some say labor contractions feel a bit like menstrual cramps at first, but then they intensify. Then, contractions feel like a dull ache paired with pelvic pressure. The discomfort moves from the top of the belly to the bottom—think of it as pushing your baby down and out.

Is it a contraction or baby moving?

When true labor begins, the contractions start as mild, irregular cramps that become regular and more painful over time. You usually can’t feel your baby move during the cramp or contraction. The contractions push the baby’s head down, slowly thinning and opening the cervix; this is called effacement and dilation.

How long do cramps last before labor?

When labor starts, you can expect regular contractions that last for about 30 to 45 seconds. Your contractions might feel like a backache or a strong menstrual cramp. At first, the contractions may be mild and as much as 30 minutes apart.

How dilated should you be at 38 weeks?

When you arrive, your cervix will be checked to see how far you’ve dilated. At this point, your cervix will be dilated 3-10 centimeters. (Dilating 1 cm/hr is textbook, but like in early labor, it’s different for every woman.)