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What Do Labor Contractions Really Feel Like?

Your due date is approaching. You're on the lookout for labor contractions. But what do they really feel like? It's a little bit different for everybody, so you can't really say what you're going to feel." Still, there are a few clues that what you're feeling is actually labor contractions.

Your period...on Steroids! (Imagine your worst menstrual cramps) Labor contractions may feel like menstrual cramps. Really bad menstrual cramps. At least, that's the most common description that's bandied about. It starts out like menstrual cramps -- and the crampy sensation progressively gets worse and worse.

A Charlie your uterus! (Think mega-muscle cramps in your mid-section that stretching can't cure.) You may feel the uterus tightening. Those strong contractions help push the baby into position and then out into the world, so you may feel the muscles around the uterus harden and contract.

Gas Pain: (Except these sharp twings won't "pass" as easily.) Contractions may feel like gas pain. Strong gas pain is often another point of comparison many moms make. If you have gas pain that doesn't ease up after a visit to the bathroom, that could mean it's a labor pain.

Pain in the...Back! (Back labor is real. That's baby's head, pressing into the nerves in your back.) Labor could be a pain in your back. If your baby is facing up when he enters the birth canal, the pressure of his skull on the nerves of your back could lead to some incredible pain. You might feel tightening and cramping, along with a backache.

Changes: (Is it the real thing? Pain that starts out intense, gets really intense.) A change in intensity is the sure sign that it's really labor. If you still aren't quite sure if your baby's really coming, monitor the strength of those contractions. If the contractions are not going away, and start far apart and gradually get closer and longer and stronger, it's the real thing. And that means you'd better be ready to welcome your new little one to the world!