It is like someone is wringing out your insides - no moving position makes the pain go away and it takes over your whole body for that one minute or so. You can't talk and you can only focus on waiting for it to end. When it stops it is like everything is totally normal again...for 3 minutes! Unfortunately, when it starts, you will know because it is pretty indescribable until it happens to you and you will laugh at how many times you went to bed thinking maybe tonight is the night because things feel like they are going to start!!!!
In the run up to labour, I used to get a lot of shooting pains like their was a swordfish in my bits!!! I think it is just the joys of late labour - sorry!!
i woke up with stomach cramps like i had a tummy upset type feeling the stronger contractions like a wave of pain came later in labour 2nd time around the contractions were like my stomach hardening and then relaxing again but not painful to begin with
the sharp shooting pains in your cervix aren't contractions (at least mine aren't and I'm due DC3 any day). I think they are just the baby bashing about getting into position. For me, contractions are aches in the belly, starting mild and getting stronger then fading away. Very like serious period pains. Belly goes hard as well.
They do get more painful and for me started in my back as period pain. I had a back to back labour so I felt a lot of pressure in my back and in my bottom, it kind of felt like the worst constipation pains I could imagine. By the time you are in established labour you'll know what contractions feel like and I was blooming sick of them! I guess in early labour any regular, consistent pains you should monitor. No one told me you could be having mild contractions for days though. This is of course is not the case for everyone. If in doubt call your midwife
Thanks ladies seems like they're like peroid pains for most people- that helps a lot as I thought they were more like stabbing pains! But as everyone says im sure i'll know when they come - and lets hope that day isn't too far away!
Just to add, different people do feel contractions in different ways. Mine have been intensely in my back for both labours. Nothing like period pains at all, except very early on. DD1 was back to back, but I don't know what DD2's positioning was. It may have been the same, or it may just be the way I labour. Please don't worry if yours don't feel at all like period pains - it's very individual.
As others have said, the real distinguishing factor from BH or general late pregnancy aches and pains was the 'build to a peak, then fade' pattern.
Also, I did have some stabbing type pains. I don't think that they're unusual - although of course you should check it out with your midwife if you're worried. In my first labour, I had a sharp pain in my bladder for a bit with each contraction, which was probably DD1 pressing on a nerve. With my second pregnancy, I had the cervix pains you describe in the last few weeks (went 9 days overdue).
For me they felt like those grippy type pains you get when you have diahorrea(sp?). You know, when your insides feel like they're twisting and it comes and goes in waves? Like that but lasting a bit longer and building and waning more.
Earlier on labour they felt more like a dull ache period type pain.
Tip: if you can manage to stay focused and do it the breathing thing really does help with the 'waves' of pain.
Mine just felt like period pains, but they would increase to a peak then subside. Mine never got any more painful than period pains either. The peaks just got closer together so there was less time between them.