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Early Contractions: How Do They Feel?

Early contractions sound scary but they are pretty common among pregnant women. If you are in between 24-32 weeks pregnant, you may notice some early signs of labour. First of all, do not get alarmed immediately. Sometimes, too much of stretching of the uterine walls can cause early contractions. You need to press the panic button only when these uterine contractions go on for a prolonged period of time.

But before know what to do when you are in preterm labor, you need to understand exactly how these early contractions feel. Most women mistake stomach gas and baby movements as preterm labor. So here is a detailed study on how to recognise early uterine contractions.

What Do Contractions Feel Like...

Back Pain

Most uterine contractions radiate from the back. You will feel a sharp pain radiating from your back to your pelvis regularly. Do not confuse this with the normal back pain that is common during pregnancy. This will be a radiating pain.

Tightening Of The Abdomen

The easiest way to identify uterine contractions is to see if your stomach tightens. Your stomach will tighten up along with a painful scrunch and release again. This will happen at regular intervals. If this goes on for more than an hour, you need to get to a hospital and seek help as it may be preterm labor.

Excruciating Pain

Labor pain is considered to be the highest measure of pain that any human being goes through. So if you feel excruciating pain in your upper or lower abdomen, it could be the beginning of early contractions.

Watery Discharge

Most often, the water bursts soon after the uterine contractions start. So if you feel watery discharge along with abdominal pain, you need to see a doctor immediately. Slight bleeding is also not uncommon during preterm labor.

Don't Confuse Contractions With...

Baby Movements

After you are 24 weeks pregnant, your baby will start moving more aggressively in your tummy. Sometimes, these movements might cause sharp pains and tightening of your baby bump. Do not confuse these baby movement with early contractions.


As you enter the last trimester of your pregnancy, you will start becoming increasingly gassy. Your stomach is being pushed up and the gas doesn't have any space to move around. Sometimes, the movements of stomach gas can also be remarkably similar to contractions.

Hunger Pangs

Pregnancy is a time of rapid metabolic activity. That is why, you start getting very hungry in your second trimester. These hunger pangs can make your stomach growl. Hunger pangs are very common in the middle of the night. So keep some midnight snacks ready and don't press the panic button.

Story first published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 7:01 [IST]
Read more about: prenatal pregnancy
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