When I was pregnant with my first baby, “What does labour feel like?” was the main question I asked everyone else I knew who had given birth. What does labour feel like? I can’t say I got any helpful answers at all!
I had been terrified of labour and childbirth for as long as I can remember. I’d watched too many TV shows and films that had depicted it as the worst pain imaginable and a horrible, screaming affair lasting hours or days. Maybe for some ladies that is the case of course.
Having spoken to friends and other ladies who have given birth since I did, it became clear that no-one has the exact same experience in labour. In fact, both of my own experiences were very different from each other too.
The second time around, as my due date loomed closer, I began to wonder if I’d even know that I was in labour. I took to google many times to search for ‘early labour symptoms’.
Then I thought, why am I asking google when I have a wonderfully knowledgeable community of mummies right on my doorstep in the mummy blogging world to ask what does labour feel like for you! So I asked some fellow Mums to best describe their experiences to give me and you an idea of what you might expect IF you’re interested. If you would rather not know what others went through then please click away now. In fact, why not click here and find out about me instead :) or read my Weekly Pregnancy Updates.
Still with me? Ok, here are the great, the ok and the ugly of what labour felt like for these ladies:
What Does Labour Feel Like?
“I had irregular tightening for 24 hours which weren’t particularly painful but different to Braxton Hicks. Then over breakfast the next day they were more regular and more painful! All in my tummy, no back pains.”
Hannah at Budding Smiles
“For me it was just another ache, much like every other ache I had in pregnancy (backache and Braxton Hicks). I failed to believe it was actually labour until my waters broke!”
Elaine at Canvas Pretty
“I felt like I needed the loo!”
Rachel at Parenthood Highs and Lows
“I just felt different. Bump was hard and tight and there were little rippling contractions.”
Kate at My Family Fever
“I had a false start the week before so expected something to happen. Over the weekend I had a show which was slow over a few days. When I was having contractions I was texting my midwife sister and two friends as I was still not convinced! I was induced with my first so had no clue! Froglet arrived 4 weeks early.”
Chelle at The Mumington Post
“I had back labour, I didn’t feel a single pain in my stomach the entire time. At first I thought it wasn’t labour as I had expected to feel it in my tummy!”
Alex at Bump to Baby
“I woke up in the early hours of the morning feeling not quite right. I couldn’t explain what I was feeling but I knew something was different.
Angela at The Life of Spicers
“I was induced but my early labour was just like period pains for me with a few tightenings. Pain was mostly in my back, my daughter came out nearly stargazing so she was almost back to back.”
Maddy at The Speed Bump
“I was asleep for two of them and only woke up for the interesting bit.”
Jenny at The Brick Castle
“I woke up at 7am, rushed to the bathroom because I knew something was happening (even before fully awake). My waters went, on the toilet and as that happened the pains started very quickly and very strong.”
Laura at Petit Moi – Big World
“A dull aching in my back which slowly came round like cramps to the front.”
Caroline at Mrs Magovern
“Cramps that felt like strong period pains. I was putting the Christmas tree up at around midday on 1st Dec when they started & by 18:18 he was here!”
Michelle at Life Writes The Story
“I remember terrible pain, I had never experienced period pain or anything like it and it felt like my whole below was tightening and would stay that way for a little and when it ebbed off it was the best feeling. And when I knew one was coming I couldn‘t help but tense up. I also remember when I was waiting to go to hospital and when I was about 5cm dialted, I really felt like I needed to poop but couldn’t!”
Rachael at Lukeosaurus and Me
“I had sharp pains going down the front of my thighs.”
Nicola at Life Through My Eyes
“I have had four babies, each one completely different. Also had them in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s!!”
Kaz at Ickle Pickle’s Life
I remember waking up, running to the bathroom with my legs closed, my waters broke just as I made it to the bathroom. I then had seriously bad back ache. All of the pain/pressure was in my back, I didn’t feel anything in my tummy. When I had a contraction it felt like someone was standing on my back, and my tummy just felt tight. (Turned out little miss Emily was back to back).”
Stephanie at Raising Emily
“Labour really began for me when my waters went with a gush (during my first pregnancy) which was followed by mild aching and cramps before quickly moving on to quite painful tightenings. My tummy literally went solid with each contraction which was rather uncomfortable. For my second child my waters didn’t break at all and my son was born in the sac on my ensuite floor! The pains were fast and intense from the very beginning and I was sick with each one due to the shock and pressure combination.”
Emma at The Mini Mes and Me
“I was induced by every method going, so I was on and off labour for about a week. I actually thoroughly enjoyed every tightening and tense muscle, it was a positive sort of pain.”
Rebecca at Indy Plays
“I had Braxton Hicks type feelings at first so the tightening and shortness of breath and then full labour started when my waters broke with a loud popping noise (eek!). I was induced.”
Jade at Late for Reality
“My early labour started as a tightening/hardening of my stomach with no real pain. I remember watching and feeling my belly go hard and being fascinated. The problem was this would go on for days/weeks and would gradually get more painful until it would start keeping me awake during the night. This lead to a very grumpy and irritated pregnant woman.”
Nikki at Keeping Strong and Moving Forward
“Aches in my back and lady bits. So mild initially that I could sleep through them and it took me about an hour to realise what they were despite being 11 days over and on high alert for anything remotely labour related!”
Sian at Dazed and Mumfused
“Two back labours here. The pain was intense and radiated across my back and down through the back of my thighs. It meant I couldn’t sit or lie down comfortably. The best position was standing leaning against the wall or my OH, or kneeling and leaning on something. With the first I had a show and my waters broke. With the second my waters didn’t break until ten minutes before she was born in the pool when they went with a loud pop!”
Pippa at Red Rose Mummy
“I just felt Braxton Hicks, it was only the waters breaking that made me sure it was happening and then the fact they were consistent when timed. Mine was a back labour, but I ended up getting induced as nothing really progressed from the early stages.”
Donna at The London Mum
“Labour started out like mild period cramps and then progressed to pain in my back. With back labour I felt no pain in my stomach the entire time.”
Karina at Mums the Nerd
“Mine started out like period pains coming and going. Had no idea it was the real deal until my waters broke in true movie style.”
Emily at Emily and Indiana
“I had back labour and it felt like I had slipped a disk or broken the bottom of my spine!!!”
Mary at My Model Mummy
“If my waters hadn’t broken and I’d not gone into hospital to be induced/monitored I’d have had no idea that I was in labour. I was on a drip for 13 hours, for most of that I couldn’t feel anything other than a bit of lower back ache and a slight pressure. I could tell when the contractions were coming even if I watched the monitor. But then we gave up at 3cm because in 13 hours I’d only gone 2 cm, so had to have a cs.”
Emma at Bubba Blue and Me
“With the boys I felt unwell the day before, tummy ache and not feeling that with it. Charlotte they broke my waters for me but I worked darn hard bringing on those contractions by walking lots.”
Emma at Me, The Man and The Baby
“I had false labour two weeks before and I now believe that I was probably in early labour for the next two weeks. I felt very nauseous, upset stomach and the odd twinge. When I actually went into labour my waters broke with a gush. I had my first contraction 2 hours later and then 2 hours after that I was in hospital and was 9cm dilated. So for me from my first contraction it was all very intense and quick.”
Lucy at Mrs H’s Favourite Things
So there you have it – real women describing their real experiences of labour. For some, crazily intense and others who barely felt a thing! My two labours shared similarities but also big differences. My first baby was 3 weeks’ early and my second was a few days late. For both, I was lucky to hypnobirth after attending classes during my first pregnancy.
If you have any fear associated with childbirth or labour at all, I cannot recommend hypnobirthing enough. I attended a 5 week class. I entered the first class feeling sick with fear and on the verge of tears thinking about my impending labour and I left that very first class feeling strong, in control and eagerly anticipating the birth! You can read all about my hypnobirth experience with my first baby here.
What was your experience of labour and childbirth? Or, if you’re pregnant, are you excited or nervous about your upcoming birth-day?
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