Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin contractio(n-), from contrahere ‘draw together’ (see contract). Braxton hicks felt like Charlie horses in my belly…they’d get really tight to the point of taking a breath away, not being able to walk or drive…active labor contractions were like running a sprint really fast with a Charlie horse, accompanied by lots of pressure down there as if I just needed to let out a big poop. We don’t even feel a need to draw them in the air, the way some people do with quotation marks. It’s perfectly OK to use contractions in most writing, including newspapers, fiction, and instructions. As your labour progresses, your contractions are likely to become more powerful and more frequent.
I really appreciate your support, even when you have no personal experience with labor contractions (although I’m sure your mom had some doozies with you!). It can be discouraging, especially if you are in the later part of your pregnancy, but rest assured you’ll know soon enough what real labor contractions feel like. After we put the word cards on the belly (the cards are in the unit), my students made their contraction crocodiles, and then had to choose five words from the crocodile’s belly and turn them into contractions!
Lie down on your side, preferably your left side, place your fingertips on your uterus, and feel for contractions. Frequent Braxton hicks contractions are actually preparing your body for when actual labor does occur. If your contractions start to come on a regular basis, you’ll want to begin timing them. For first time deliverers, this can happen weeks before labor begins, while second to multiple deliverers may experience lightening hours before.
Second, apostrophes are sometimes used in representing words in non standard forms of English: thus the Scots poet Robert Burns writes gi’ for give and a’ for all. Contractions can feel different for every woman, it might be that the pain stays in your lower back area but will often move in a wave like movement towards the abdomen. Make sure you go to her blog here and see all of her fabulous ideas for contractions and so much more! They’re so common that movies and books often try to make characters seem old-fashioned or strange by having them never use contractions.
In this cycle, the first stage begins with the contractions and ends up when the cervix is completely dilated. The key is to keep track of the contractions and time them you can write them down, use stop watches, or even download a smart phone app that keeps track of contractions. At one point I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes, over a minute long, for over and hour. During labor, contractions increase in frequency and intensity and can become painful.