Opening Contractions: How To Recognize The Beginning Of Birth

Training contractions, lowering contractions, opening contractions: Expectant mothers are afraid of not being able to properly distinguish the type of contractions and therefore not acting correctly when your baby is born. In fact, not all contractions are the same.

You can find out which signs to look out for here.

What Is The Difference Between Training Contractions And Opening Contractions?

When the uterus contracts, experts refer to it as a contraction or a contraction. Thus, the uterus is a relatively large muscle, which is almost constantly in motion to bring the unborn child into the optimal birth position.

At the same time, contractions are intended to ensure that the baby can be pushed through the birth canal more easily and is born with as little stress as possible.

The Cervix Opens

Opening contractions induce labor and the cervix gradually opens. The opening contractions usually occur at intervals of about three to six minutes and are experienced very individually by women in labor. For some, they are particularly painful, while for others they are hardly stronger than the lowering contractions.

The opening contractions cause the cervix to shorten. As a result, the cervix opens. This is a real effort for the body, so it is important that you try to recharge your batteries during the labor pauses.


If possible, ask your midwife about pain-reducing procedures in the run-up to the birth. For example, there are certain breathing techniques that you can use to significantly reduce pain during labor.

In this guide, you will learn what you should know about the opening contractions and how you can help to endure the pain even before the birth.

Every Opening Contraction Brings You A LKittle Closer To Your Child

In order to understand what opening contractions actually are and what “benefits” they have, it is important that you know the different types of contractions. They basically differ with regard to their duration, frequency as well as intensity.

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The Exercise Contractions

The practice contractions or the pregnancy contractions are to be understood as a kind of preparation for the birth. They can occur from about the sixth week of pregnancy. So if you already feel a slight pulling in your abdomen at this stage of pregnancy, you don’t have to worry.

Rather, this is a completely natural process, which should prepare you gently – also mentally – for the upcoming birth. In most cases, however, the exercise contractions are so weak that many pregnant women do not even notice them. However, it is not until around the 20th week of pregnancy that they are sometimes more, sometimes less noticeable.


Nature has arranged it in such a way that the uterus is already “practicing” the tension for the birth with this first contraction. If your abdomen hardens slightly, this is already a clear indication that it is a contraction. As a rule, it is not particularly painful.

However, make sure that you do not feel the contractions more than about four times within 60 minutes. As soon as you feel more frequent contractions that become more and more painful, you should definitely see your gynecologist.

Early Labor

Premature abdominal pain or preterm labor poses a significant risk to the unborn child. If you feel a pulling or pressure in the lower abdomen before the 35th week of pregnancy and the cervix shortens as a result, this is an indication of preterm labor.

Do the contractions occur more often than five times an hour? And do you find them very painful, especially in the back and lower abdomen? Are you also noticing an increase in the secretion of vaginal secretions?

It is essential to see your doctor or midwife immediately. He or she will give you a contraceptive to stop the early contractions.

Descending Labor

Preterm contractions or sinking contractions indicate that you are about to give birth: Birth is now imminent. Contractions practically push your baby into the pelvis.

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As a result, your abdomen lowers because your baby has now assumed a lower position. Descending contractions often last for several hours. When their intensity decreases, this can be a clear signal that your child will soon see the light of day.

Sudden contractions are experienced differently by each pregnant woman. On the one hand, there are women who feel the most intense pain, while on the other hand, there are women who do not notice the contractions at all or hardly notice them at all.

The Opening Contractions

The birth or opening contra ctions act directly on the cervix. The expulsion contractions that then occur transport the unborn baby through the pelvis directly into the birth canal. Now you will feel the so-called pushing contractions.

They are usually extremely painful and are also characterized by their particular intensity. The pushing contractions set the abdominal press in motion so that the expectant mother is almost automatically guided to push along with the labor pain. This process is also extremely strenuous and a real strain for the mother and also for the child.


In general, women who give birth find the pushing contractions to be particularly painful and draining compared to exercise or lowering contractions. However, because nature has arranged it in such a way that the woman is allowed to push or push along with the birth of her child, the sensation of pain is sometimes reduced. In addition, there is usually the subliminal anticipation of finally being able to hold the long-awaited baby in her arms.

The Afterbirth Contractions

You will feel the afterbirth contractions when your baby is born. The afterbirth contractions are hardly felt in full by most new mothers. The joy of finally having the baby is too great.

The postpartum contractions ensure that the placenta detaches and is expelled after the strains that have been endured. This is why these types of contractions are also called expulsion contractions. They usually take the form of one to a maximum of three contractions.

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Expulsion contractions help the woman’s body to regress the uterus. Incidentally, experience has shown that the intensity of postpartum or expulsion contractions increases with each additional child the mother gives birth to.

This is due to the fact that the resistance of the uterus decreases with each subsequent birth. For this reason, it needs more strength each time to contract again after birth.

The Rupture Of The Membranes

Once your waters have ruptured, this is the starting signal for the imminent birth of your child. Even if you have felt a strong contraction beforehand, things only get really serious when your water breaks and the amniotic fluid comes out.


During rupture of the membranes, the amniotic sac breaks. It is possible for the water to come out in a large gush. In some women, however, it only comes out continuously and in small amounts. Many pregnant women therefore only notice later that their water has broken.

Good To Know

If the cervix is completely open and the amniotic sac does not break until then, this is called a timely rupture of the membranes. If the amniotic sac breaks before the opening phase, but the cervix is not yet fully open, this is called premature rupture of the membranes.

Regardless of whether it is premature or early rupture, if your water breaks and you are on your own at this moment, you should remain calm. If possible, contact your doctor or midwife directly. It is also important that you get into a lying position from that moment on.


In the event of premature rupture of the membranes, you can have a pad or pillow placed under your bottom. This will prevent the baby from sliding even deeper into the pelvis. The decisive advantage of this is that the risk of a so-called prolapsed umbilical cord is reduced. If the umbilical cord has wrapped itself around the baby’s neck, this can be life-threatening.

What If The Opening Contractions Are Delayed?

Many expectant mothers become anxious when the planned delivery date has passed, the cervix is still largely closed and the opening contractions are still waiting. It is important to maintain constant contact with the attending physician or midwife.

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If there are no recognizable medical reasons that make induction necessary, you can remain completely relaxed. Your body will show you when the time has come. Your baby in particular will signal to you when the time is right for it to be born. Not you, but your child takes over this decision…

You Can Support Your Child On Its First Journey

To stimulate labor, you can regularly take a hot bath. The heat stimulates the metabolism and blood circulation. In addition, your abdomen will relax.

In addition, you can take long walks to help your unborn child slowly but surely make its way. The movement has a stimulating effect on labor activity. Of course, you should not overdo it with physical exertion.

It is advisable to drink one or two small sips of sparkling wine. The sparkling drink also has a positive effect on blood circulation and can help the cervix to open wider.

Because metabolic activity is also stimulated, this can also promote labor. With the help of acupuncture or with homeopathic preparations, the opening contractions can also be started relatively well.

If it is time for the baby to be born, but it apparently does not “want” to leave the protective womb yet, the midwife or gynecologist will administer a so-called labor cocktail if necessary. The liquid could trigger stress in the unborn child, so that at this point at the latest, the cardiac activity must be successively monitored.


Opening contractions herald the birth of the child. Sometimes, however, expectant mothers confuse them with training contractions or sinking contractions. In general, every woman feels opening contractions differently.

Certainly, they are usually very painful. However, it is possible to alleviate the pain through specific breathing techniques and make the birth more bearable in this way.


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