What Do Contractions Feel Like In Early Labor?

For you, early contractions may feel quite painless or mild, or they may feel very strong and intense.

During true labor contractions your belly will tighten and feel very hard.

Some moms-to-be liken these contractions to menstrual cramps.

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.

Does baby move during contractions?

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.

Where do you feel contractions?

Contractions are usually only felt in the front of the abdomen or pelvic region. Contractions usually start in the lower back and move to the front of the abdomen.

How do you know the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions?

Braxton-Hicks contractions are not, and they do not lead to birth. Real contractions are generally more intense and follow a consistent pattern, while Braxton-Hicks contractions do not. A woman usually feels pain from real contractions around the abdomen, lower back, and sometimes in the legs.