Contractions: depicting what they really are

The last contractions

The baby is here! Fresh, all wrinkly and magnificent, of course! But for you, labour isn’t quite over just yet. A few last (and intense) contractions and a couple of pushes to eject the placenta. Don’t panic! Once the baby is on top of you, the pain seems to ease away.

Mothers tell all… uncensored!

“Having had regular false contractions, I would say that for me, a real contraction was the one that made me say: “Hell with the bath, lying on your left side, taking a walk and blah blah blah! Call the midwife and my birth guide Kathleen! Physiologically, I had to change my breathing.” Caroline

“I had many Braxton-Hicks contractions throughout my pregnancy starting from my 20th week. At first, I thought the baby was lying “sideways”. My belly would harden and I thought it was the baby’s back resting on my belly. A colleague touched my belly and said: this is too large for it to be the baby’s back at 20 weeks. It’s hard everywhere, it’s probably a contraction”.

“My false contractions were a little painful but the real ones started out in my kidneys and resonated through my entire stomach. I had never felt that before, I knew that this time, they were the real ones!”

“Contractions may feel like menstrual cramps, but the pain is multiplied by 50! I also had the impression that my stomach wanted to rip apart. My belly became so hard! And I felt a pull from one side to the other. I might not be the best example since for both of my deliveries, my babies were posterior. The pain was in my lower back and kidneys. It’s really hard to describe. I think you have to live it to fully understand. But it’s a bearable pain if you decide to accept the contraction and work with it to reach your one and only goal: give birth!”

“I only had painful contractions at 9 cm! Otherwise, I only felt them in my back. It’s really because of their steadiness that my boyfriend (not me) insisted that we head out to the hospital. Had it only been me, I would have probably given birth in the car!”

“During the fake ones, my stomach felt like a soccer ball. During the real contractions, I had kidney pains at regular intervals. My stomach never hurt, it was my back that wanted to tear me apart.”

“Labour started on the way to the hospital after my water broke. It wasn’t that painful. But an hour later, it started to really hurt. It was like a huge cramp that paralyzed me. It hurt so badly. I still thought it was bearable even though I couldn’t help making faces and breathing loudly. The pain was in my lower back and in my belly. It didn’t remind me of any pain I knew.”

“The first contraction is special. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just uncomfortable. Then, as labour progresses, the pain spreads to the lower back, like a heart attack for your ovaries (!) that seems to intensify.”

“For me, the big contractions hurt in my stomach, lower back, and from my pelvis to my knees. Yes, down to my knees! That’s what surprised me the most about my contractions! Never would I have thought they could hurt that much! With every contraction, I felt like my pelvis was about to break.”

“During my second pregnancy, I had false contractions every day during the last 5 weeks! I was highly encouraged to take a bath because it would help ease my contractions…but they forgot to tell me that when the labour has begun, a warm bath will accelerate the process! While I was in the bath, the pain intensified and the contractions became closer together. (I didn’t have a watch in the bath so I don’t know how far apart my contractions were!) Let me tell you it was about time I left for the hospital: I gave birth 40 minutes after being admitted!

Image de Nadine Descheneaux

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