Can True Labor Contractions Feel like Pressure Instead of Pain?

Updated on October 09, 2010
V.W. asks from Rush City, MN
10 answers

I am 37 weeks pregnant. On Monday I was 80% effaced and in between 2-3cm dilated.

I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions since about week 25. Normally they don't feel like anything (I don't realize I am having one until I press on my tummy and notice that it is hard), and when they do feel like something it is just a feeling of tightness.

Now for the past couple of days I will notice that sometimes (A couple times a day) I will feel a ton of downward pressure on the lower half of my tummy (Almost like my baby is trying to force his way out of me). Sometimes my stomach will be hard during this feeling and sometimes it won't. Could these be real contractions or are they just another version of Braxton Hicks contractions? They don't hurt... They just feel like a lot of pressure.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I'm at the same place as you in my pregnancy - 37 weeks (but no dilation or effacement yet). I think it might be lightening (baby descending into the pelvis). I've been having Braxton Hicks since after 32 weeks, but they've been becoming tighter and more intense even though they don't hurt. But as long as they don't hurt, I don't think they're labor contractions.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

They are just early contractions and BH contractions. Since you are term 37 weeks, do not worry. Just have your bags packed and get ready in the next couple of weeks to have baby. When you are in labor (be sure to follow your hospital policy & guidelines) but you will know. Call IF your water breaks OR once your contractions are 5-7 minutes apart and you are no longer able to talk through them. When they catch your breath and you are no longer feeling "happy" then you are ready to go to the hospital. Congratulations and BEST OF LUCK with your little bundle. BTW.... If the pressure becomes uncomfortable, take a nice warm bath. Goodness knows you will not get many of those after baby comes.



answers from Topeka on

Baby will soon be here....


answers from Seattle on

I do believe that may just be braxton-hicks, though I am definitely not a doctor. Labor pains (usually) start out far apart, and get worse over time, and you usually notice within a few hours. Maybe wait a bit and see what happens. If you have any doubts, call the hospital and/or doctor. You could always have them check and then your worries would be completely laid to rest.



answers from Boston on

Yes!!! I had pressure off and on for a few days and woke up on a Saturday morning with constant pressure and contractions that were not painful and not regular. I called my ob she said I felt like coming in to get checked I could but would probably be sent home, I took a shower and just knew I had to go to the hospital, I got there and my beautiful second son was delivered by an ER nurse in a triage room.



answers from Johnstown on

Yes, it can feel like pressure instead of pain...and it could be BH as well. I had absolutely no idea I was having a contraction until the nurses told me I was based on the readings of the monitor. However, actual labor for me was felt in my back/kidney area and that was definitely not hard to tell. Congratulations!



answers from Miami on

My sister complained of this type of pressure you are describing for about 2 weeks before she actually had her baby and when she was in labor, her contractions just felt like intense pressure. I think it won't be long. Hang in there.


answers from Los Angeles on

Yes. I had no pain until Her shoulder's came out. All it felt like was constipation pressure for me. I drove myself to the hospital, only feeling that pressure and delivered 35 minutes later. Have a happy and safe delivery!!!


answers from Modesto on

thats all I felt during labor was tremendous pressure.... just time them when you get them, once it becomes consistent for an hour you are probably on the downhill slide ;)



answers from Cincinnati on

It could also be the baby dropping. Some people cannot feel it at all, but I found the pressure of both of my babies dropping very intense. It felt like the baby was trying to push through the pelvis floor and right out of me, and does come in waves!

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