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Old 04-04-2008, 04:47 PM   #1
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How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

I know that the most obvious answer would be when your water breaks; but I've also heard that many Mamas don't have their water break naturally & have to have it broken. I was just wondering what it actually feels like when labor begins...I have been having this on & off stabbing pain in my cervix, it literally takes my breath away. I've also been having contractions here & there, but I haven't been timing them because they aren't really consistant.My little guy is moving around like crazy, so I'm not sure what it could be.

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Old 04-04-2008, 04:57 PM   #2
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

The stabbing pains *could* just be your body stretching and preparing for labor. I had a few of those pains and that's what I was told. For me, my contractions felt like menstrual(sp?) cramps. They came in waves and were low. I never felt my stomach tighten or anything else like the books say. I had a couple of people tell me that isn't "real" labor, but that's how it felt with both kids, so that's how it was for me. With Nathan, I had PTL from 32wks but my water broke the night before my c/s at 38.6wks. The PTL felt just like period cramps, as did the contractions after my water broke.

If you are at all in doubt, call or just go to L&D. They won't make you feel silly, they deal with this all the time.
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Old 04-04-2008, 05:46 PM   #3
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

My water broke at the start of labor with my 3rd baby, but the other two I had no idea I was in labor until active labor. With both of them I had weeks of prodromal labor (painless, regular contractions 3-5 minutes apart for several hours every evening at the same time) and knew they would be born when I woke up still having the contractions from the night before.

I had that stabbing pain in the cervix with all my pregnancies, and it had nothing to do with labor for me =( sorry.

Also... you don't HAVE to have your water broken, babies can be born "in the caul" with the bag of waters still over their head. My OB told me it hasn't been proven to shorten labor at all. (Yet he still offered to do it? Crazy)

Labor can feel like cramps, or be completely painless and just pressure all over the belly. Some women experience sharp pains, but it is very likely that most pain is caused by fighting the contractions, fear, and muscle tension from that fear. Also, I found my contractions to get painful when I needed to empty my bladder, so I made sure to urinate at least every 30 minutes to an hour during labor!
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Old 04-04-2008, 05:51 PM   #4
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

I got sharp stabs in my cervix, but that was just stretching (I had them throughout my pregnancy). Labor for me was more extreme pressure that got more and more painful as it lasted longer. It kinda felt like somebody was twisting my abdomen hard.
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Old 04-04-2008, 05:58 PM   #5
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

Well, both times my water didn't break until baby was actually coming out (doc got a little wet, LOL), and my labor pains were most like extremely strong menstrual cramps, and my entire tummy got ROCK hard. No stabbing pains in the cervix during labor. I think those are from the baby head-butting your cervix (I get them all the time).
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:24 PM   #6
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

My labor started as dull back pain with what felt like painless BH contractions. Then as it progressed the contractions felt like the originated down low and moved upward in waves.
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:29 PM   #7
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

For me.. they started feeling like period cramps. Until they started to intensify.. and then they were *really* painful. The entire time I kept keeping track of how far apart they were until I reached 5-7 min. apart..HTH
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:30 PM   #8
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

Thank you, Mamas! As I said, the pain comes & goes, so I'm guessing that it might just be the baby's head pushing down. If it continues to worry me, (which it isn't right now...) I will make a call to L&D.
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:22 PM   #9
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

I think the most important thing to remember is that it will get to the point that you'll feel sure you're in labor, or at least sure that you need to go to the hospital, even if the labor peters out that day and you return home. Not to worry, it's a good sign that baby will be coming in the next few days!

With my first, I felt an emotional downtown a few days before labor. I had less energy, wasn't chipper, and suddenly started feeling done with being pregnant. My labor started the next day and we went to the hospital, but it petered out and I came back home. Then I lost my mucous plug the next day, then had severe back pain the next, and then that night, finally started having contractions (like menstrual cramps) and my water broke. Went to the hospital and had DD 8 hours later.


With my second, I started feeling the mildest contractions and just a sense that things were happening one night. I told DH that the baby would be born in the next 2 or 3 days and went to bed (no problems sleeping). The next day, I ran errands on foot all around town (lots of walking) and started having contractions while doing those errands. They kept building and getting easier to identify the beginning and ending, and they also got more painful. Went to the hospital and had DD 2 hours later.

At the beginning, you don't always know. But the feeling will build and eventually you'll decide it's time, either because you know or because you just think. But if it's easy to stay in the undecided stage of "is it happening or is it not?" then I think you probably are not in labor yet.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:23 AM   #10
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Re: How does it 'feel' when labor starts?

I had the sharp stabs in the cervix too and i think its just the baby bumping it, or punching it! My water didn't break on its own with any of mine, although for some weird reason i wanted it too...maybe this time. For all three of mine i knew i was in labor, it wasn't really a thought of "i wonder if this is labor". My ds was the only one that was a little different, and he ended up being the easiest labor too. I was a day past my due date and i woke up feeling a little twingy in my cervix...hard to explain, and i think you'd have to be very in touch with your body to have noticed it. Is was slightly irritating and hardly there, but it was something different. And it was constant, not off and on. So i called my bestfriend and told her i wanted to go to walmart and walk today b/c i thought it would throw me into labor...so i dtd with dh and she drove over and she, her kids, my kids, and i went to walmart where within an hour i could feel something was definitley starting. We walked for a few hours, then checked out b/c i was starting to get uncomfy, went home, called dh to come home from work, waited for probably an hour, went to the hosp and was 9 with a lip when i got there.

Not that you wanted to hear my whole labor story, but that's how it started. I am SOOOOO hoping for another labor like that. So i'll be following the exact pattern, except this time i might go to the mall ; )
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