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Is this what 'real' contractions feel like?

(11 Posts)
alasia Tue 14-Aug-07 11:15:27

Hi, I'm 36 weeks + 6 days and have been getting what I think are BH for weeks now - where my abdomen goes hard for a while then relaxes but it's not painful.

But...over the past couple of weeks I've had a few little 'episodes' of stronger contractions. They feel like someone's 'gripping' my lower stomach; it feels like a squeezing sensation that makes that area feel really, really tight and uncomfortable, and hurts a bit at the same time. Each 'contraction' builds up to a peak where it's very uncomfortable, then fades away. Each time I've had this happen, I've only had 2-3 'contractions then they stop altogether.

The last time I got them was yesterday morning - I was lying in bed cuddled up to my partner and he had his legs over my hip )I was facing him). His legs were pressing on my lower stomach slightly so I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the fact that these contractions were much stronger than usual? I noticed them more and they hurt quite a bit, but it was more of an uncomfortable pain rather than sore or unbearable, as I'd imagine labour pains to be!

Is this what real contractions feel like?
But obviously becoming stronger and more regular

I'm just making sure I know what to look out for, because this is my first baby and I'm the type to sit there in pain, and wait until I'm 'sure' that something's wrong. I'd probably stay at home until the baby's head was popping out for fear or rushing to the hospital and getting told I'm only having a false labour or soemthing!

By the way, I saw my MW yesterday (didn't mention the pains though) and she said I was 3/5 engaged - not sure if that might be why I'm getting more BH?

pooka Tue 14-Aug-07 11:20:30

They sound like they are contractions, although really Braxton Hicks are "practice' contractions and they used to be rather painful with me. My bump would go very hard and tight at the same time.

Just a word of warning though. Don't be too excited and jumpy-about when you start getting a good run of them. I made the mistake of thinking "this is it" and going into the hospital (with my first) and arriving with practically zilch dilation. Very very early stages. Labour contractions, I found,were so intense that I literally couldn't talk or move while having one. With ds I'd learned my lesson and by the time was first examined by the midwife was 10cm and ready to push. Basically because I had dd and was busy and upright, didn't jump the gun.

Good luck.

PurpleLostPrincess Tue 14-Aug-07 11:23:38

I guess its different for everybody but I'm quite sure you'll know when the real ones kick in and it sounds like you've had a few inbetween the bh's.

At 39 weeks with DD1, I had some strong contractions for about an hour then they went away - turned out it was her head getting engaged so that could be what you've experienced!? I never had any bh's with her at all and had her at 40wks and 8 days (41+1?).

I'm currently 34 weeks with this lo and have been having bh's for the last few weeks on and off, moreso when I've been active in the day. They have sometimes felt like bad period pains and at one point I started timing them but they were all over the place so I knew they weren't the real thing.

If you time them and they're irregular, don't worry but if they become regular and very painful, thats the time to call the labour ward for some advice!


PLP xxx

Razian Tue 14-Aug-07 11:25:20

The attitude of the delivery unit at our hosp was that if you are still coping with the contractions then it's not time to get to the hospital!! They WILL send you home if you're not in established labour...

My advice would be to wait as long as poss, but think about the practicalities of getting to hosp - how long will it take, rush hour etc. I ended up waiting til I was 5cm dilated and the car journey was the worst 30 mins of my life.

Does sound like "proper" contractions but then some people have these for days before labour begins properly.

No harm in ringing the delivery suite to warn them you may be in labour though and getting their advice.

Good luck!!!!

alasia Tue 14-Aug-07 11:31:09

Ok thanks. I'm the type to just sit there for ages though, wondering if it's just my imagination or the real thing, so no danger of getting to the hospital too early!

Actually I have another question; I know 'stress incontinence' is common in late pregnancy, but is it normal to 'leak' a lot one day, then nothing at all for a few days after that? Surely incontinence would be a regular thing, so you'd leak llittle bits of urine every day?

The reason I'm asking is because on Friday afternoon, I went to the toilet and immediately afterwards, a load more fluid came out. It was almost as much as I'd just peed out (sorry for tmi!) and I was wondering how my bladder could ahve been that full - and how I'd managed to leave so much in there!
I carried on leaking little bits over the next hour or so (I'd put a pad on and had a bit of a sniff, but couldn't smell anything discernable) but then it stopped totally.

I'm almost 100% sure it was urine, becauuse the same thing happened a few weeks ago - when I collected some of the fluid in a sample bottle it was clear, but smelt slightly bitter so I didn't tell anyone.

Am I right in thinking that because I didn't go into labour, it must have been urine and not my waters leaking?

REIDmylips Tue 14-Aug-07 11:31:11

Razian, i did exactly the same. Had severe stomach pains through the night, went to hosp at 9am and was 1cm dialated, the hosp said i could either go onto a ward or go home. I chose to go home and waited as long as i could. I waited far too long before deciding to go back and the car journey was the worst half hour of my entire life!!! i cant begin to describe the pain i was in! (although i am a wimp)i was also 4/5cm dialated by the time i got back.

PurpleLostPrincess Tue 14-Aug-07 11:39:30

alasia, if I were you, I'd at least call your mw or day assessment unit for their opinion...

Having said that, I've often been for a wee and then found that I've leaked a little bit afterwards, I think its due to all the tubes etc being squished up and depends on positions etc. Sounds like you had quite a bit though. You're right, amniotic fluid is meant to smell sweet... I've heard that you can get pads that identify if its amniotic or not but I wouldn't know where from or how much (sorry!).

I haven't helped much sorry! Hope you manage to get some clearer answers from more wisdom-filled ladies!?

alasia Tue 14-Aug-07 11:48:10

Thanks, I might give them a ring - but I'm just worried they'd say come in for a checkup, and then end up sending me home again because nothing's happening.

The hospital's a bit of a trek and I'd have to get a couple of buses (I don't drive and there's no one that could give me a lift over there), so I'd rather not go uneccesarily.

Also, I saw my new MW yesterday afternoon; I forgot to tell her about the leaking and 'contractions' (or BH, whatever they were!) but considering she had a feel of my tummy and everything, I thought she would have been able to tell if I'd gone into labour...?

PurpleLostPrincess Tue 14-Aug-07 22:49:24

Hi, just wondered if you had called them and if they had given you any advice? How are you feeling?

PLP xxx

Alfie72 Wed 15-Aug-07 11:19:23

I would ring the hospital if I were you and speak to the midwives. I had the same thing at 33 weeks and spent two days in hospital as they thought my LO would arrive early. Best to be cautious I reckon but it could just be BH.

Tinkjon Wed 15-Aug-07 16:25:28

Alasia and PLP, I had exactly the same thing last pg re. leaking after going to the loo... very unnerving The pads you can buy, to tell whether you're leaking amniotic fluid or not, are called Amniosense - I ordered some from Ebay but you can Google it. They're about £20 for a pack of 7, but well worth it if you're a panicker like I am

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