What Does a True Labor Contraction Feel like

As an expectant mother, one of the most important things you`ll need to be aware of is the onset of labor. It`s not always easy to know when you`re truly in labor and when it`s just Braxton Hicks contractions. While Braxton Hicks contractions are common and normal, they don`t signal the start of true labor.

So, what does a true labor contraction feel like? Here`s what you need to know:

Intensity: The first thing you`ll notice is the intensity of the contractions. Unlike Braxton Hicks contractions, true labor contractions are more intense, with a tightening sensation in the lower abdomen.

Location: True labor contractions are usually felt in the front of the body, around the lower abdomen and pelvic area. You might also notice some back pain or discomfort.

Timing: True labor contractions will come at regular intervals. In the beginning, they might be spaced 15-20 minutes apart, but as labor progresses, they will become closer and more frequent.

Duration: True labor contractions usually last around 60 to 90 seconds. They might start out shorter in the beginning, but as labor progresses, they will become longer and more intense.

Changes in the cervix: One of the surest signs of true labor is a change in the cervix. As labor progresses, the cervix will start to soften, thin out, and dilate. Your doctor or midwife will be able to detect these changes during a pelvic exam.

Other physical signs: You might notice other physical signs of labor, like your water breaking, a bloody show, or an urge to push. These are all signs that labor is imminent and you should be prepared to head to the hospital or birthing center.

It`s important to note that every woman`s experience of labor is different. Some women might feel intense contractions from the start, while others might have a slow and steady build-up. The best thing you can do is to pay attention to your body and trust your instincts. If you suspect that you`re in labor, don`t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider for guidance and support.