What Does a Contraction Feel Like? — PCP 036

Today we're talking about what to expect with contractions, and what they will likely feel like. Wondering what a contraction will be like is VERY normal -- so let's talk about it.



This episode was inspired by my VERY popular post What Do Contractions Feel Like??

Don't forget to grab my hospital packing list:


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This episode is sponsored by the Online Prenatal Class for Couples. It's really going to help simplify the process for you.

Today we're talking about:

  • What a contraction is
  • How contractions change from early labor
  • Other symptoms you might have besides abdominal pain
  • How to know when to go to the hospital

Items Mentioned:

Other things that might interest you:

Producer: Drew Erickson

Transcripts:

Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys, welcome back to the pulling curls podcast today on episode 36 we're talking about contractions not like isn't and can't and couldn't. We're talking about your uterus shoving a baby out. Let's untangle it. Welcome to the pulling curls podcast where we untangle everything from pregnancy parenting Homer, teens, even some family travel because heavens knows our lives are tangled. I'm your host, Hilary Erickson. Okay, before we get started, I just want you to flip on over to the review section of whatever podcast app you're on Stitcher, Apple podcasts. And just leave a quick review. It means so much it helps my podcast get seen by tons of other people so that they can understand what a contraction is to. This episode of The pulling curls podcast is sponsored by the online prenatal class for couples. It simplifies understanding labor so you can have a more relaxed pregnancy and birth taught by a highly experienced labor and delivery nurse and can be done wherever you are. Whenever you want no more arranging busy schedules to fit in a prenatal class, save 15%. With the coupon code

untangled, you can find out more at pullingcurls.com and the menu under courses or in this episode show notes.

Okay, so what is a contraction? It is exactly the same if you were deciding to lift weights and you decided to lift 200 pounds with your biceps and you were just straining at it. That is the same thing. your uterus is just a big muscle and a baby incubator. It does both things really, really well. And so that's all it is meant to be. And as your uterus contracts, it is trying to shove your baby out right because your body is done being pregnant.

It knows that by around 40 weeks, that baby is gonna get to be too big to come out of your pelvis. So it needs to get out now. So now that we understand what contractions are, what do contractions feel like? I remember being pregnant with my first and just kind of wondering what is it going to be like when I go into labor? Like what am I looking for? You know, the baby would move a lot and I would think is that a concern? traction, you know, when I would stand up, my uterus will get very angry. Like when you stand up quickly, I bet a lot of my pregnant friends know what that feels like your uterus gets very angry. And is that a contraction? So yes and no, I mean, that's angry, which is a little bit different than a contraction, but let's talk about it. So early contractions can be confusing. A lot of people feel like the baby is moving. And sometimes when the baby does have a lot of movement, your uterus will contract.

Now, not every contraction feels painful, sometimes it just feels tight. Or I would even notice that my breathing felt a little bit different because the way your uterus is under your lungs, it kind of pushes up and you just feel like you're breathing differently. And so a lot of people don't complain of pain, they just feel like tight or different with a contraction, and that's okay. Just like when you're lifting weights, if you're just lifting a one pound weight, it's not going to be painful, right? But if you pull up the 200 pound weight, that's going to be painful. So that's kind of what to think of when you're starting out with contractions. Now, if you are having an induction where we are using misoprostol Or pitocin, that is going to change how contractions feel. That means we're kind of shoving you into labor versus early labor where you're at home where you're like, oh, what was that that feels different. And then you're going to kind of expand and do it feeling like cramps. I know you've missed your period, but it is going to be back in full force at the beginning of your labor, you're going to have those that lower back pain that's just kind of achy, but it's going to come and go, and you're going to be like, I feel fine.

\ And then two minutes later, it really hurts and then I feel fine. And that is a contraction. A lot of people think it's going to be a constant pain and it isn't contraction is going to be like when you lift up the weight, and then you put it down, you know, you don't hurt once you put it down. And so that's what a contraction is like. You also are going to feel like a lower pelvis pain and sometimes people call it a fullness. It's kind of hard to explain, but if you've had period cramps, you know what I'm talking about. That's just what you're gonna kind of feel at the beginning of labor, and then it's just gonna progress from there, guys, they're going to get more painful. The contractions aren't just going to be in your back. They're going to start to wrap around your belly. Or if they were in your belly at the beginning and they're gonna start to wrap around your back, you're gonna feel your whole torso come into the contraction party. And that's what you're gonna feel I actually put on your TMI years skip ahead if you need to. But I think that labor is very similar to a food poisoning. If you've had stomach pains like that, where you gets really, really bad, and then it kind of abates, right?

And then it gets really, really bad. It is very similar to that as well, you do feel it in a different place, because your uterus is not your intestines, it's a little bit lower. And but if you're kind of like, what am I looking for? What is it gonna be like, it's kind of like really bad food poisoning. But of course, instead of you know, what comes out with food poisoning is not nearly as cute or adorable as what you will have when you have your baby. And of course, it's not always just your uterus. Sometimes the rest of your body wants to get involved in this action, too. You might end up having diarrhea or some nausea with it. And there are other parts of your body that kind of get in on the game as well. And we've talked about that in another podcast. I'll link to that in the show notes as well. What I think is really important is to talk with your doctor asked him about kind of what to watch for and how close the contractions should be before you head into the hospital.

A lot of people ask me that question in my prenatal class and it is a great question but the problem is I don't know you I don't know your situation. I don't always know what number of baby it is. I don't know how far away you live from the hospital. I don't know the traffic around the hospital. I don't know how far it is from like the parking garage to labor and delivery because I have to say hospitals have like the worst parking ever. Although usually if you're in labor, you can just drop your car at the front door come in and then husband couldn't take care of the car later. But talk with your doctor find out what you should be watching for, especially for you. If you have conditions like a placenta previa, or a previous c section, you need to know what to watch out for you.

And so you ask your doctor questions and if they aren't ready to answer your questions, and that's a problem and I would definitely call them on it. consider switching physicians. What I do want to say is it's very normal to wonder what contractions are going to feel like what labor is going to feel like, which is why I have an online prenatal class for couples. Go into this tons and tons so that even your partner can know what to expect. You're gonna know basically what to do when you think you're in labor and I think people really enjoy that part that I just simplify it. It's no longer this nebulous, what am I gonna expect? What are things gonna be like? suddenly it's a little bit more concrete and easier to understand. So I think that's why people love that class so much. But if you're not ready to jump into that class, I actually have a hospital packing list.

Unknown Speaker 6:23
Never packed my bag

Hilary Erickson 6:25
ever until I was like in rip roaring labor. I always was like, it's bad juju, because I went late with every baby. I knew I was gonna go late. I might have parked with my first Honestly, I don't remember. He's 19. It was so long ago. But subsequent babies I'd gone late. So I didn't want to get my hopes up. A lot of people pack their bag at 36 weeks. If I had done that I'm not sure those clothes would have even fit. By the time I went to have my baby. My last baby was 12 days overdue. And so yeah, I didn't want to pack the bag for her. So if you're looking to know what to put in your hospital bag, so you're not racing around trying to grab all the things like you were like I was when I was having my baby. definitely get that packing list. In that I named the top three things that you need to let your partner know where they're gonna be because everyone wants them and then they glare their partner when they can't find them. So be sure and check that out.

Okay, guys, I hope you enjoyed today's episode, everyone wonders what labor is going to be like. And honestly, even if you've already had a baby, I think you wonder what is labor gonna be like this time? Is it going to be faster? What am I going to be watching for? You do know basically what a contraction feels like, although some people go in and they have a C section and they never know. So everybody's different. And just because your friend explained it one way doesn't mean that you're going to feel that that same way either. So your cramps are the best thing I can say for comparison, if you like today's episode, I actually have a whole post on what contractions feel like. And I actually have a monitor that you can rent. If you really want to know what a contraction is. It's not super expensive because it's a rental and I'll link to that in the show notes as well. It's called the Blum life monitor, and I have a coupon code.

Of course, Big thanks to our sponsor, the online prenatal class. for couples. It simplifies birth just like this podcast, if you want birth to Be a little simpler to understand it better and to not be so nervous about what's going to happen in the hospital. Be sure and check it out. Be sure and use coupon code untangled to save 15% that is awesome as well. If you like today's episode, we'd love it if you would share, subscribe and review it really makes a difference. We drop an episode every Monday and until then I hope you have a tangle free day.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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