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Home » Pregnancy & Baby Forums » Contractions



Contractions

Contractions



How will I know when my contractions are real labor?

Contractions occur when the uterine muscles tighten and relax. When true labor begins, the pituitary gland releases oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that stimulates contractions. True labor contractions are different from Braxton Hicks because they make labor progress.

Contractions usually start in the back and move around to the front. The contractions can be felt as a cramping or tightening sensation. Some women say that contractions feel like severe gas pains. When a woman experiences a contraction, the abdomen will become hard and you can feel this on the outside. The contractions will help push the baby down into the birth canal for delivery. Contractions are similar to a wave. It will gradually increase in intensity and then peak and decrease as the contractions comes to an end.

In the early stage of labor, contractions will come every 10-30 minutes. They will last for about 40 seconds in the early stages. However as labor progresses, the contractions will get closer, stronger and last longer. They will begin to come every 2 minutes and last for about a minute each. There will be a moment of rest in between each contraction. Take a breath and get ready for the next one to begin. This break also gives your baby and the uterus a much needed rest! You should try to work with the contractions to help bring your baby down into the birth canal.

Contractions can be timed from the start of one to the start of another. The easiest way to do this is to write down on a sheet of paper when each contractions starts and its duration. This will help you to describe your contraction pattern to your doctor and the labor nurses.

False Labor Vs. True Labor



Timing Contractions
False: Irregular, not coming closer together
True: Regular, 4-6 min apart, Become closer together and last 30-70 seconds.

Strength Of Contractions
False: Weak and does not get stronger with time or a strong contraction followed by weaker ones.
True: Becomes stronger with time.

Pain With Contractions
False: Normally only felt in the front. Does not get more intense.
True:Starts in the back and moves to the front. Gets more intense.

Position Changes
False: May slow down or stop when you walk,.lie down or change position.
True:Contractions continue no matter what you do.

Once your cervix has dialeted video


Provided by the www Health Channel on eMedTV.com

Calling The Doctor

If you are less than 36 weeks pregnant and you are having contractions that last for more than 30 seconds and happen 4-6 or more times per hour, you should lay down and drink alot of water. Call your doctor if the contractions do not subside. However, if you are past 36 weeks and this is your first baby, you should continue to monitor your contractions until they are very strong and regular. You should go to the hospital when you can not hold a conversation when a contraction is occuring and when they are coser than 5 minutes apart and continue in a reliable pattern for an hour. If you have alread had children before, you should call your doctor when contractions are getting stronger and closer. Do not wait too long though since most second babies come sooner! If you are not sure whether your contractions are real or not, go to the hospital for an exam. They can tell you if you are actually in labor.





Comments: Contractions

Comments 1 to 12 of about 12.


nawis1 - 1249 days ago.
Useful contractions counter: http://calcduedate.com/count.html

dreamgirl - 1358 days ago.
The women in my family are baffeled by what I felt with contractions. With my second child, I felt contractions in my cervix, not my back or my stomach. I felt a tight squeeze and a sharp pain in my CERVIX. I know all births are different, but... Has anyone else felt contractions in their cervix?

Jas77 - 1615 days ago.
For me, contractions didn't hurt at all in the early stages of labor or until I was around 4cm dilated. The only reason i realized I might be in labor is that the tightenings were coming every 5 minutes, otherwise I would have thought they were intense braxton hicks. After 4cm dilated however is a different story.. I am still shocked and amazed at how intense those things are... WOW!!!!

hopesmommie - 1616 days ago.
hey i am 37 wks preg and i have no clue whats going on. everytime i go to the hospital they send me home saying that my cervix has not changed but i am dilated to cm today i have been since 1148 haveing contractions in my back and they wot go away and i am tired of going to the hospital and them sending me home because of my cervix not changed but i do keep on haveing contractions. what should i do

Ms.BetterThanTheRegular - 1686 days ago.
Utterly frustrated. I'm 29 weeks with my second child and I've been having contractions and cramping off and on since 24 weeks, I've had to recieve shots twice to stop them. I can't tell the difference between contractions and just cramping though...my contractions feel just like my cramps vise versa...Idk what to do...I'd rather go to L&D and get checked all the time then not go and actually be in labor or something, but every time I go and I'm 'not' contacting they look at me like I'm crazy. Even when I was in labor with my son (before they induced me) my contractions were no worse than period cramps and they were 7 minutes apart and I was 2 cm dilated...... Anyone else ever go through this?

annie - 2093 days ago.
Hi, When i had my twins in 2007, i woke early hours of the morning, to mild stomach cramps then i felt a trickle of fluid, my hubby rushed me to hospital, i got there was checked out, found to be 10cm dialated and in full blown labour, but i never really had these so called major painful contractions, now i know what they are like as i have had 4 pregnancies, my labour was a short one with the twins, just over an hour, but what i am saying, if in doubt get it checked out, after all its your babys life in your hands, and who would want to take the risk.

3rdtimemom - 2178 days ago.
Not sure if what I'm experiencing is true or false contractions. I have been feeling this tightness in my stomach that feels as if the baby is balling up and pressure that goes along with it. No matter if I'm sitting, laying or standing they still seen to come on and more frequent when I get up to do something. So I'm order to try and ease them I doubled my water intake and now I no longer feel them. I need to know if what I was feeling was Braxton Hicks or true labor contractions.

3rdtimemom - 2178 days ago.
Not sure if what I'm experiencing is true or false contractions. I have been feeling this tightness in my stomach that feels as if the baby is balling up and pressure that goes along with it. No matter if I'm sitting, laying or standing they still seen to come on and more frequent when I get up to do something. So I'm order to try and ease them I doubled my water intake and now I no longer feel them. I need to know if what I was feeling was Braxton Hicks or true labor contractions.

mother of one - 2194 days ago.
I'm having contractions/pain & they're about 5mins apart. The pain starts in my back & works it way to my stomach. I also have this sharp intense shooting pain down there. The last time I felt the baby move was an hour ago. (wait I take that back, he just kicked me! :-] ) According to the u/s I'm due tomorrow but according to my doctor I'm due on Sunday. BTW: I havent lost my mucus plug or had a bloody show & the last time my doctor checked me I wasnt dilated! Should I be worried about the pain/contractions?

kayleejane - 2205 days ago.
Ive definately started having contractions - they are very intense, my belly gets really hard and they are every 10 minutes.. i've rang the hospital and they said to take paracetomol and have hot baths - i wana go to sleep ive been up all night :(

Erin A - 2207 days ago.
My doc explains contractions as though they wrap around from back to front , they are not jsut on one side like braxton hicks and round ligament pain can be. I see alot of people say you will know when they are contractions. I do not believe this to be true. When i was in labor with my first son i didnt know i was having contractions half the time and they were amazed i couldnt feel them because they were almost topping the charts at some points. Also i know many people who have not known they were in labor due to there contractions being just like braxton hicks, it just depends on your body. I will agree though that ALOT of the time once they become serious you will know but not always the case.

blakesmommy336 - 2207 days ago.
when you have a real contraction you will know it! your belly tightens and it can be painful. you are having a real contraction when it comes about every ten minutes and the pain last for about a minute whent the contraction hits u might not be able do stand and whatever you are doing you'll have to stop...seriously...at first i planed on having a natural birth. i ended up getting the epidural which was great!!! it didnt hurt at all. its like a bee sting compared to the contractions!! it made my labor so much better i was able to enjoy giving birth to my beautful little boy...thank god


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