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Does Labor Feel Anything Like Menstrual Cramps?

Forum: Pregnancy Over 35


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November 7th, 2006, 11:00 AM
Delsol's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Colorado USA
Posts: 3,507
Are labor pains anything at all like severe menstrual cramps? Is the physical sensation similar, as in the same muscles contract? I am wondering what to expect. When not pregnant, I suffer from severe cramps; the kind that can wake you from a dead sleep and last for days. On occasion, the increasing waves of pain have even made me vomit. I find myself (wrongfully?) thinking that if I can deal with that, labor pains canít possibly be worse. Or can it? Any thoughts? What was labor like for you? Shockingly painful, and if so, in what way? What part of it surprised you? What did it feel like?

If like me, this is your first time, have you imagined what it will be like yet? Are you expecting you just can't know until you know? I wish we could know! Are you considering which drugs you might take if it turns out the pain is worse than you thought it would be?

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November 7th, 2006, 02:43 PM
elmwolfe's Avatar Super Mommy
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I'm anxious to hear some "experienced mothers" takes on this too.

My mom always told me that labor pain was like menstrual cramps but MUCH worse. I'm not sure if that was just to scare me or the truth!

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November 7th, 2006, 03:04 PM
4iris's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Midwest
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Aside from my recent m/c's and the AF's to follow, I think I've had cramps maybe 2-3 times in my life. They literally put me in the floor begging for morphine (OK, I'm a wimp). With DS, my water broke 3 weeks early and the contractions started 15 minutes later. At that point, they didn't seem as bad as the menstrual cramps I've had, though there was a lot of adrenaline pumping by then!

Once I'd dilated to around a 4-5, the contractions surpassed the pain of my menstrual cramps and I was ready for my epi (but remember, I'm a cramp wimp!). Even with the epi, I still used the labor breathing techniques, especially at the later stages of labor, and it really did ease the intensity of the contractions. I probably could have delivered without meds if I'd had to, but I was very thankful for my epi. The anesthesiologist quickly became my new best friend!

I plan to have another epi with this one. I tried stadol first with DS, but it didn't take away the pain and made the room look all swirly like a Picasso painting. Won't do that again. Just the epi for me and all will be well. Even if you want to deliver naturally (no meds), go ahead and pre-register for an epi. You don't have to have one just because you pre-register, but if you DON'T pre-register and then get into active labor and change your mind, you can't get one (for a vaginal birth, obviously if you have to go to c-section they'll give you an epi).

Hope that helps. Labor is intense, but you'll be amazed at how much you can tolerate when the time comes. DH said he was absolutely amazed with me after watching me labor all day and deliver. I'm sure your DH/SO will be the same about you.
Do not sorrow; the joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh. 8:10
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November 7th, 2006, 07:09 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Arizona
Posts: 4,715
Just so you know, I actually have a friend who's second baby almost fell out! No pain at all.

As for me, uhhh, not a great person to ask. When the nurses told me you will know what real labor is because you can't talk through your contractions, they were right.

When I was in labor with Owen, it was so bad I couldn't take it so I had an epidural followed by a c/s because I was in labor for SOOOO long and he still had not dropped into position.

With angel baby, I was at home and slowly in the late afternoon, I couldn't move around very much, I tried to get to my bed and by the time I got there I couldn't lay down. I was on all fours moaning as if it were someone else. Took me about 5 minutes to get to the phone which was right behind me. When I called 911 (I was alone and was only 17 weeks) I couldn't even talk to them until the contraction stopped.

It's bad. Hopefully, you will be one of the lucky ones and will have an easy breezy labor. It happens, it's over and you have a cute little bundle of joy to take home.

If it wasn't worth it, I wouldn't be all knocked up again! (:
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November 10th, 2006, 01:03 PM
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 66
This is a tricky question, as labor intensity, time, and pain varies widely from one person to the next. I went in labor with my first and it was just getting bad when they gave me an epidural. That one ended up in a c-section, so I didn't see the labor part through.

On my second, I was in hard labor from Sunday evening until 2 pm the following Tuesday when they finally managed to pry him out! The pain was intense, but they have lots of meds to curb it. By the time I was into Monday, everything sort of became a blur.. I thought it would never be over lol. They were pumping all sorts of meds into me trying to speed up the dialating because he was already late and I had been leaking his water all weekend. I don't think I would have ever fully dialated without the meds.

The intensity of pain also depends on what your level of tolerance is. I can take a great deal of pain before I'm down for the count, and some people can stump there toe and be bedridden for days (ok, bad example there, but you get the point lol)

I refused pain meds stronger than tylenol after my last c-section just because I didn't want anything in my system that could have been passed through breast milk. So, its also state of mind and determination to decide what you can and can't handle
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November 13th, 2006, 09:12 AM
sara~b's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I know I'm not an older mother (no offense, just older than me. LOL!) but I wanted to offer up my labor story since alot of the ones on here talk about major pain. Mine was very different. I was four days overdue and I had to go in for an NST the day before my scheduled induction. The monitor was picking up contractions that I couldn't feel so the nurse decided to check me. I was 3 cm and fully effaced. I decided to go home thinking I'd be back either that night or else I'd still be induced the next day. The next morning I went back in around noon. I still hadn't felt a thing but a quick check showed I was 5 cm. Walking the halls didn't dilate me any quicker so they started pitocin and my contractions STOPPED! LOL. Finally, they decided to just stop the pitocin and break my water. This was around 3 PM. The only contractions I felt were the ones between the breaking of my water and sitting up afterwards. They felt like someone was sitting on my chest. I felt I couldn't breathe so I sat up and after that they felt like muscle spasms. I got the epidural anyway. LOL, I am such a baby! After that I lay there and read magazines. At 5 PM I was like "I feel something". The nurse said "no way". She checked and I was 9+ cm. She went to get the doctor and while he was getting scrubbed up the nurse had me do practice pushes. I started the practice pushes at 5:30 PM. At 5:45 the doctor was like "STOP! She's coming." LOL. I was like "Are you sure? I can't feel anything." So at 5:53PM my daughter flew into the world despite the fact I thought I wasn't pushing. LOL.

I really hope everyone has an easy labor and delivery. It really is different for everyone. Good luck and congrats on your babies!
Sara, 27, married to Shane, 31, mom to Gemma, 6, and Ashlyn, born 8/7/10

Running for my health and sanity!
PR's: 5k-25:05 (old PR 25:10), 5M-45:03 (old PR - 47:22), 10k - 52:00 (approximate - training), HM-2:25:58 (ran a 2:17:36 during marathon), Full- 4:49:25 (old PR -5:49:40), 50k-7:05:56, 50M-13:31:14, 100k- 18:59:31 (old PR 20:56)
(All of these PR's are going down this season!)

My Pregnancy Chart: http://www.fertilityfriend.com/home/1c6297
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November 14th, 2006, 12:52 PM
Kath113's Avatar Pogo Addict
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,243
I was only in labor for about an hour or hour and a half because I got an epi and soon after a c-section, but for me it felt like the absolute worst gas pain you can possible have pushing down on your rectum....I literally felt like I had to have a BM so bad I was going to explode out the bottom, and it didn't come in waves either....just constant painful pressure down on my rectum. I pretty much screamed the whole time.....thank God for drugs is all I can say LOL
~*~ Kath ~*~
Proud Mommy to Cameron, Born 10/14/06
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November 16th, 2006, 09:28 AM
Delsol's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Colorado USA
Posts: 3,507
Thank you Ladies! Wonderful, wonderful birth stories - the positive and the painful; they are all really helpful. I hope others will share more, and that we eachl have an easy-peasy labor this time around. (knock on wood!) Kath113, your description of it feeling like a BM took me in a whole new direction! Of course it would feel like that, wouldn't it? Makes sense. That's a very different sensation than a menstrual cramp!

I am considering hypnobirthing as a labor method. Maybe I'll start a new thread later today on methods - so we can compare each other's thoughts....

All my best, Shannon


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November 16th, 2006, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 54
I would love to hear about hypobirthing!! Please do post when you get a chance
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November 24th, 2006, 04:33 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,466
I agree, it's different for everyone and everyone will tell you not to tell soon to be mothers how bad it can be but I think that's unfair. Everyone told me that it wasn't that bad. They were lying, atleast for me. I am NOT a pain weeny, I've walked on broken bones to finish the farm chores and then drove myself to the hospital and not complained. Labor was not fun. I had 18 hours of it and I'd say the first 4-5 hours were toloerable but around 5 cm I was done. Then of course they make you walk around I was freaking out. The epi helped but then there was 3 hours of pushing, hardest work I've ever done. Now after saying all of that I must say that it was in some strange way a great experience, although painful. I am glad that I didn't miss it. I had ds 7 years ago and remember it clear as day and I'm hoping to experience it again someday soon. Good luck, you'll be fine.
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