Can Labor Pains Feel Like Constipation? Pregnancy Complications Explained

can labor pain feels like constipation?

What do labor pains feel like? Ask your sister, mother, or friends about their experience, and you’ll hear different stories. This is because every woman, every pregnancy, and consequently, every birth is other.

We all know the distinct stages of labor, but there isn’t a definitive guide we can refer to when it comes to labor pains. Hence, we have to rely on analogies. It’s easier to explain the labor pain one experiences right before delivery because it’s sharp, intense, and sometimes unbearable.

What’s harder to explain are the labor pains experienced in the early stages of labor. These labor pains are less intense and may not even be noticeable initially. A lot of women feel that they are like menstrual cramps or constipation.

Can Labor Pains Feel Like Constipation?

Does labor feel like constipation? The answer is yes. When you enter the first stage of labor, your body may experience slight discomfort and pain in the lower abdomen, similar to the feeling you get when you’re having constipation. You may also feel some pain in your stomach, along with some cramping.

This is normal and generally happens between the 37th and 40th week of pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you can be sure that labor has begun once you start seeing other signs, such as an increase in vaginal discharge, a plug of mucus, and a feeling that the baby has dropped.

If the discomfort comes and goes, it may be false labor or Braxton-hicks contractions. Doing gentle exercise is one way to check if you’re having real labor pains. Braxton Hicks contractions are less noticeable during exercise, while labor pains are still noticeable. Today, even wearables can help you track your contractions.

Constipation Can Be A Sign Of Pre-Term Labor

While it is common to have a constipation-like feeling, lower abdominal cramps, and a dull backache after the 37th week of your pregnancy, it is a cause of concern if these symptoms appear before you in this time frame. This could be an indication of pre-term labor.

If the pain is accompanied by bleeding, pelvic pressure, watery fluid leaking from the vagina, or increased vaginal discharge, it is essential to contact your physician as soon as possible. This will help in avoiding any pregnancy complications.

The good news is that pre-term labor may not always result in the birth of a premature baby. Today, doctors can delay or stop labor through different treatments, enabling the baby to stay in the womb longer. These treatments help the uterus to relax and give the baby time to develop.

Pregnancy Complication Or Just Plain Old Constipation

While it is true that labor pains may feel like constipation, it is also true that constipation and gas are genuine concerns when it comes to pregnancy. Sometimes, constipation can cause cramping and shooting pain in the abdomen, which may seem like a contraction. This gives you the impression that you’re experiencing labor.

If any other symptoms do not accompany the constipation-like feeling, it may just be a stomach tightening caused by constipation. During pregnancy, changing hormones, vitamins, and iron supplements can slow down the gastrointestinal tract, causing constipation.

That’s why watching your diet and water intake during pregnancy is extremely important. Drinking around 10-12 glasses of water, eating fiber-rich foods, and including light exercise in your routine can help you avoid constipation and, consequently, other pregnancy complications that come with it. There are also a few health and wellness tips that you can follow to ensure that you keep these pregnancy complications at bay.

You may be concerned and confused about your constipation before labor


Finally, it’s important to remember that every pregnancy and labor journey is different. Hence, speaking to a physician is always a good idea, particularly when you have concerns about labor pains and cannot understand what you’re feeling. If you have any specific queries, chat with one of our doctors today.

Author: Erum is a public relations professional who specializes in technology comms. She is an avid reader, a travel enthusiast, and a self-proclaimed storyteller. Before joining the content team at Your Doctors Online, Erum was the PR manager at Hill & Knowlton Strategies and handled communications and content strategy for a diverse portfolio of brands. She is also a new mom who is finding her way around motherhood.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

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